Annecy 2013: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Commercialism and Love the Festival
I made a point of attending an “Animation Off Limits” screening because I was very curious to see Canadian animators Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbokski’s latest film Cochemare. I had a couple of drinks with Chris and Special Effects wizard Peter Bas who created the amazing special effects for Madam Tutli-Putli and Higglety Pigglety Pop as well as their newest film. It is easy to understand why the effects on Chris and Maciek’s films look so great when I learned that Bas has created special effects on such blockbusters as Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Superman Returns, and Beowolf.
Cochemare blends animation and stereoscopic 3D to take us on a journey from the mystical Forests of Storms to the orbiting International Space Station. According to Chris the film blends voyeurism, femininity, and separation of body and mind to illustrate the erotic dream of an astronaut.
I need to watch the film again because like a Rosto film, Cochemare is very layered and full of subtle images and references. I have a feeling that many people thought that the film was primarily live action but Chris told me that they only used the actress for the masturbation scene and the rest of the film was shot using a remarkably life like latex puppet.
On Wednesday evening there was a very special event at the Chateau Museum to celebrate the publication of Philippe Moins and Maurice Corbet’s book Raoul Servais, Voyage en Servaisgraphics. Servaisgraphy refers to the artistic process invented by Raoul Servais which he used during the production of Papillons de Nuit which won the Annecy Grand Prix in 1998 and Taxandria in 1995 which is considered an animation classic.
Raoul was present and showed several of his original drawings for the films during the round table discussion which was followed by celebratory drinks. Papillons de Nuit and Taxandria were shown on the large screen in the museum courtyard that evening.
On other evenings the Chateau courtyard presented such excellent films as Crulic – The Path Beyond which won the 2012 Annecy Cristal for Best Feature and a program of Jerzy Kucia shorts. These outdoor screenings were designed for adults while the other big screen in the park by the lake showed family friendly fare such as Hotel Transylvania and Monsters Inc. to packed crowds.
Even with all of the films to watch, the parties and receptions are the most important part of this festival because this is where you make contacts, find out what new projects people are working on, and talk business.
At the mayor’s reception at the lovely old Hotel d’ Ville (Town Hall) prior to the opening night ceremony I had the opportunity to see a lot of friends. Many of the Polish animators were there so I got to visit with Marcin Gizycki, and Jerzy Kucia as well as Michaela Pavlatova from Prague, before they began their jury duties.
I had to skip the Pixar/Disney barbecue, opting instead for the fete hosted by the German Film Industry which I always look forward to. Each year the lucky invited guests are taken by bus to a restaurant outside of Annecy. A sumptuous buffet is served and we all dine at tables scattered around the lawn which reaches down to the edge of the lake. The food and wine is always delicious and this relaxed break is a wonderful opportunity for informal conversations in the middle of a very hectic festival. Members of the Annecy + band added to the festive atmosphere with music.