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The Animated Come to Annecy

A big look at Korean animation and a tribute to legendary Ray Harryhausen are some of the treats in store for Annecy 2004. Sarah Baisley offers an overview and highlights of the world premiere animation festival.

This years Annecy poster features rabbits and a touch of madness. Courtesy of Annecy.

This years Annecy poster features rabbits and a touch of madness. Courtesy of Annecy.

Things are heating up for the coolest animation festival in the world, held at a lovely mountain resort on the French/Swiss border in Annecy, France, where the top independent animated film in the world will be named. The Annecy 2004 International Animated Film Festival and MIFA, held June 7-12, offer an international look at the state of animated film and TV, honors creators and outstanding companies via screenings, conferences, retrospectives and a business/trade show expo to explore new methods, technologies and partners on the horizon.

A record 1,548 films were submitted to the festival this year, which was narrowed down to 263, representing 34 countries for the official selection. Films were received for the first time from Armenia, Colombia, Iceland, Jordan and Uzbekistan, plus Zimbabwe for the second year running. Most will compete in either the category of fiction films (shorts and features), TV films, commissioned films, school or graduation films or Internet films.

Attendees will have a chance to check out the prolific amount of work that comes from Korea in a spotlight this year with a look behind the scenes of a country developing its own identity through a particular type of artistic creation. There are seven programs of screenings, including Wonderful Days, released in July 2003, which had the biggest budget in Korean animation history. Other features include Empress Chung by Nelson Shin (2003) and Hammerboy by Taekun An (2003).

There is a frightening retrospective in store covering more than 70 years of monster madness inspired by that gentlemanly giant of stop-motion vfx wizards, Ray Harryhausen, Annecy 2004s special guest. Monster Giants is a tribute to Harryhausens career, making it possible to rediscover a few of his greatest films. Audiences will also be able to see some work from the master, Willis OBrien. Harryhausen will be on hand with Annecy artistic director Serge Bromberg to give away a few secrets about his work through a compilation of his films.

Running alongside the international competition are a number of programs, including:

The artwork for Raining Cats and Frogs will be exhibited at Annecy. © Folimage 2002.

The artwork for Raining Cats and Frogs will be exhibited at Annecy. © Folimage 2002.

  • A retrospective and exhibition dedicated to the Halas & Batchelor studio, with the presentation of one of the first European features, Animal Farm.

  • A tribute to animation credits, which are often great masterpieces.

  • The second Animation with an attitude program devoted to racism.

  • A tribute to Ub Iwerks, the little-known creator of the first Mickey.

  • A program showing work produced at Cinéastes Associés, a company created by Jacques Forgeot, at its peak in the 50s and 60s, presented by Dick Roberts.

  • A tribute to the aaa studio, and 25 years of creations by Jacques Rouxel and Marcelle Ponti, producers of Shadoks.

  • Monster Road, a documentary about the underground animator Bruce Bickford, his life and the explanation of his unique world through the meeting with his father.

  • A recently restored compilation of short films from the great Ladislaw Starewicz.
    • -

    The Magic Clock, 1928- The Little Sweet Singer, 1924- The Lead Soldier, 1928

A compilation of the best Taiwanese productions.

Avoid Eye Contact, a program of 12 short films by New York animators with a live appearance by Bill Plympton.

Disney on the Frontlines, a compilation of short propaganda films created by the Disney studios during WWII.

The Big Sleep, tributes to recently fallen animation comrades Jules Engel, John Hench and René Laloux

Conservatoire dart et dhistoire will be presenting a look back at the making of Jacques-Rémy Girerds film, Raining Cats and Frogs.

Centre Bonlieu will also feature exhibits on:

  • Korean Animation
  • The folded artistry of Virgil Widrich used in Fast Film

  • Animal Farm, the film based on George Orwells book
Monster Giants will pay tribute to Ray Harryhausens career.

Monster Giants will pay tribute to Ray Harryhausens career.

The business expo, MIFA, for those who make a living out of animation, includes professional panels and scientific conferences (NPAR), presenting the latest advances in research, organized in the salons of the Centre des Congrès de LImpérial Palace. Meetings, technology and emerging techniques will all be on the menu, overseen by market manager Vincent Ferri.

The market attracts more than 900 companies, where recruiters and programming execs find creators to cover their needs. Argentina and China will be joining the other exhibiting countries for the first time this year. All this activity will be taking place in that very special atmosphere that is synonymous with Annecy.

The International Project Competition (in its 8th year) is the occasion for directors to show off their projects to professionals. A jury of television and film professionals met in Paris, at the beginning of May, to award the different prizes, all carrying cash grants. These include the Festival Grand prix for short and features and the MIFA Grand prix for TV productions. Partner prizes will be awarded to Amiens Métropole, Arte France, Canal Plus, Cartoon Network and the prix du trait de génisse trophée goes to Gloden Cow, CST; France 3, GTCNumérique, NVIDIA and SACD. The official prize ceremony will take place on June 8.

Topics for professional panels include:

  • Franco-Korean co-productions
  • Animation and youth publishing from sheet to screen
  • Artistic interpretation in 3D animation films: perspectives and restrictions
  • The creative connections between animation and videogames (writing, fabrication and production)
  • Perspectives of videogames (online, network and mobile phone games, new consoles, persistent worlds)
  • Scientific conference on Non Photorealistic Animation and Rendering (NPAR)


Ryan by Chris Landreth will represent Canada in the short film competition, while Nibbles by another Canadian, Chris Hinton, will represent the U.S. Ryan courtesy of Copper Heart Ent. and the National Film Board of Canada; Nibbles © Acme Filmworks 2003.

The main focus is on the competition. Helping decide that are distinguished jury panels that consist of this year:

Shorts and features:

Leslie Iwerks, filmmaker, producer, USAVirgil Widrich, filmmaker, AustriaJayne Pilling, animation expert, U.K.Young Sup Kwon, illustrator, South Korea

TV and commissioned films:

Andrè de Semlyen, consultant, FranceMickael Hirsh, distributor CanadaHélène Fatou, writer, producer, France

School and graduation films:

Signe Baumane, filmmaker, LatviaMichel Roudevitch, journalist, FranceGuy Delisle, filmmaker, and illustrator, Canada(Biographies of the jury members can be found on

Canal J/Annecy 2004 Junior jury:

Four youngsters from the Atelier de cinéma danimation dAnnecy et de la Haute-Savoie (aaa) and four students from the art department of a college in Val deTravers, near Neuchâtel, Switzerland, will make up these juries and judge the films in the short film and school and graduation categories.


On the feature side, El Cid and Hair High will compete with three other films. El Cid © Castelao Productions S.A All rights reserved; Hair High © Plymptoons.


Germanyin, Philipp Hirsch, 2004, 0:23:50AustraliaGet in the Car, Greg Holfeld, 2003, 0:05:42Hello, Jonathan Nix, 2003, 0:06:30Birthday Boy, Sejong Park, 2004, 0:09:18The Way, Qing Huang, 2003, 0:07:55BelgiumDesperado, Yves Bex, 2002, 0:11:10Déjà vu, Éric Ledune, 2003, 0:10:35CanadaRyan, Chris Landreth, 2004, 0:13:50Wrong Number Phone Message, Bruce Alcock, 2003, 0:01:43ChinaCai Wei Ye Zhao, Yang Huang, 2003, 0:07:35Pan Tian Shou, Joe Chang, 2003, 0:04:23South KoreaIn-Saeng, Jun-ki Kim, 2003, 0:09:45Egg-Cola A Miracle in the Desert, Sung-ho Hong Woo-seok Yang, 2003, 0:07:31CroatiaPlasticat, Simon Bogojevic-Narath, 2003, 0:09:50SpainVuela por mi, Carlos Navarro, 2004, 0:06:50EstoniaInstinct, Rao Heidmets, 2003, 0:10:30USAFishes, Mirek Nisenbaum, 2003, 0:01:55Pan with Us, David Russo, 2003, 0:04:00Nibbles, Christopher Hinton, 2003, 0:04:34BidEm In, Neal Sopata, 2003, 0:02:10Its the Cat, Mark Kausler, 2004, 0:03:20Grasshopper, Bob Sabiston, 2003, 0:14:27Lorenzo, Mike Gabriel, 2004, 0:04:48Gone Nutty, Carlos Saldanha, 2002, 0:04:45FranceTueurs français, Nicolas Jacquet, 2003, 0:09:30Raging Blues, Vincent Paronnaud, Lyonel Mathieu, 2003, 0:06:00Calypso Is Like So, Bruno Collet, 2003, 0:07:07Bip-Bip, Romain Segaud, 2003, 0:02:10Linventaire fantôme, Franck Dion, 2004, 0:09:44Des calins dans la cuisine, Sébastien Laudenbach, 2004, 0:07:40Le château des autres, Pierre-Luc Granjon, 2003, 0:05:55Circuit marine, Isabelle Favez, 2003, 0:07:50La révolution des crabes, Arthur de Pins, 2004, 0:04:50Le régulateur, Philippe Grammaticopoulos, 2004, 0:16:00France, BelgiumSignes de vie, Arnaud Demuynck, 2003, 0:09:30Great BritainContamination, Carl Stevenson, 2003, 0:06:07Jo Jo in the Stars, Marc Craste, 2003, 0:12:30Welcome to Glaringly, Grant Orchard, 2003, 0:03:00Killing Time at Home, Neil Coslett, 2003, 0:03:00Bad Dad, Tasha Hollywood, 2003, 0:03:00Moo(n), Leigh Hodgkinson, 2003, 0:03:20Childhood Trauma #16, Michiel De Kraker, 2003, 0:02:40ItalyMoon, Andrea Pierri, 2003, 0:03:55Love Cube, Donato Sansone, 2003, 0:02:10Italy, FranceLa piccola Russia, Gianluigi Toccafondo, 2003, 0:16:30JapanUtsu-musume Sayuri, Takashi Kimura, 2003, 0:03:30Aru tabibito no nikki, Kunio Kato, 2003 0:17:40NorwayGjennom mine tykke briller, Pjotr Sapegin, 2004, 0:13:00The NetherlandsSeventeen, Hisko Hulsing, 2003, 0:12:00RussiaNehoroshiy malchik, Oleg Uzhinov, 2003, 0:05:20SwitzerlandLa chanson du pharmacien, Daniel Suter, 2003, 0:01:40Switzerland, CanadaLhomme sans ombre, Georges Schwizgebel, 2004, 0:09:36


Films in Competition

Canada, France, Spain

P3K Pinocchio 3000 Daniel Robichaud, 2004, 1:17:06

South Korea

Oseam Baek-yup Sung, 2003, 1:15:00


El Cid, la leyenda José Pozo, 2003, 1:20:00


Toto Sapore e la magica storia della pizza Maurizio Forestieri, 2003, 1:19:00


Hair High Bill Plympton, 2004, 1:16:00

An exhibition based on Animal Farm from the Halas and Batchelor studio will be on display at the festival. © Halas & Batchelor Ltd.

An exhibition based on Animal Farm from the Halas and Batchelor studio will be on display at the festival. © Halas & Batchelor Ltd.

Three selection committees were together in Annecy from Feb. 24 to Mar. 9, to watch the 1,452 films and decide on the final selection. The panels consisted of:

  • Short and feature films:

    Regina Pessoa, director, PortugalLolo Zazar, director, FranceRosto, director, Netherlands

  • TV and commissioned films:

    Maria Fares, producer, ItalyBruno Edera, specialist journalist, SwitzerlandGuillaume Calop, freelance artistic director, France

  • School and graduation films:

    Stephanie Kirchmeyer, productrice, France/Royaume-UniCaroline Piochon, étudiante, FranceMikyeong Jung, productrice, Corée-du-Sud

  • Internet films: Siggrid Coggins, multimedia trainer, FranceGaël Abegg-Gauthey, multimedia trainer, FranceTiziana Loschi, Cica managing director, FranceLaurent Million, Cica film management, FranceNicolas Pasquier, Cica computer department, France

Festival artistic director Serge Bromberg explains the background for the poster that represents 2004 Annecy:

A few centuries ago, pictures were scarce and as few people knew how to read they could not learn to tell new stories. In these legendary times lanternists, with their magic lanterns and mechanical slides carried on their backs, would roam the countryside, going from farm to farm and village to village, accompanied by the chant of the frogs, to bring the latest news to the country folk. The crowds would come running, eager to see the surprises and information. From the most learned to the craziest, the public would show their unanimous support for the entertainers with rousing applause.

The program would be made up of a few caricatures of the court gentry or views from faraway lands (as in those times, nobody traveled much). There were also more neutral subjects like a rabbit eating its carrot, or monsters of all kinds, each one more hideous than the next, that scared the more sensitive members of the public.

That was yesterday, but still today, these creatures from another age fascinate and inspire. What imagination! Trips to Korea, and the four corners of the world legends, new stories, a farm with animals, frog prophets, horrible and touching monsters, imagination galore, rabbits and a touch of madness All these indispensable ingredients will be gathered together once again in Annecy this year.

Well, what if we held a festival?

Rabbits and a touch of madness.

Sarah Baisley is editor of Animation World Magazine.