Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market – the world's biggest festival dedicated to animation – was created in 1960, and this new edition was full of promise. Of course, it is a wonderful opportunity to see films from all over the world (for example, the competition included a Russian feature film – Sheep and wolves, by Maxim Volkov – something that has not happened for a long time. But his year saw a celebration of French animation, number one in Europe, through different programmes composed by foreigner artists (Giannalberto Bendazzi, Ron Diamond, Shelley Page, Igor Prassel) who chose the French films that impressed them – 14 programs and four documentaries to see the impression that French animation gives abroad.
The competition was very rich: Nine feature films (10 out of competition) and 54 short films (31 out of competition). It was interesting to see that 34 per cent of films were directed by women.
A Cristal honour was given to Didier Brunner, the famous producer of Kirikou and the Sorceress (Kirikou et la sorcière), directed by Michel Ocelot, and a feature film that changed everything in French animation in 1998 by proving that it was possible to be successful with a European animated feature film.
The inauguration of the festival, on Monday June 13th, was a great moment with The red Turtle, the fifst feature film by Michael Dudok de Wit, initiated by Ghibli Studio in Japan, and co-produced by France (Prima Linea studio, from Angouleme). Many film fans were impatient to see this film, recently awarded in Cannes, because everybody has in mind Father and Daughter, the wonderful short film by de Wit that won an Oscar in 2000.
Another event was the premiere of Louise (Louise en hiver), by Jean-François Laguionie, an artist discovered at Annecy in 1965 with La demoiselle et le violoncelliste. An exhibition, Jean-François Laguionie’s Poetical World, also took place in the Annecy castle, celebrating his works.
Of course, there were be premieres of many commercial films: Finding Dory, produced by Pixar; Ice Age: Collision Course, by Blue Sky, The Secret Life of Pets, by Chris Renaud, director, in 2010, of the famous Despicable Me.
Students were invited to a work shop by Bruno Coulais, the French composer for The Chorus (Les choristes) in 2004.
People who came to Annecy for business headed for MIFA (International Market of Animated Film) where they found new participants, including China and Turkey. Many students viewed Annecy and MIFA as an opportunity to meet animation professionals, contacts that sometimes leads to jobs.
All in all, the 2016 edition was a big success. (Bernard Génin, edited by Amber Wilkinson)