Animation World Magazine, Issue 2.4, July1997

The 21st Annecy
International Animated Film Festival and Market

A festival report by Heather Kenyon and Wendy Jackson

The 21st Annecy International Animated Film Festival and 7th International Animated Film Market (MIFA) was held from May 26-31 and was the largest in history. Over 5,000 people flocked to the French Alps for a week of film viewing and business.

More than 1,200 films were submitted to pre-selection and were whittled down to 270 for competition. The festival came under fire, however, from many who complained of the quality of the selected competition films, especially in the "Short Fiction Films" category. The Panorama screenings did contain some especially intriguing films however, and the offered retrospectives, screenings, lectures and exhibits were also highly praised. In this issue of Animation World Magazine, French journalist and Annecy veteran Michel Roudevitch recounts the screening events at this year's festival in his article
"Annecy: The Long and Short of the Carnival by the Lake," available in both French and English.

At the Impérial Palace, down the street from the festival's hub the Bonlieu, the MIFA (International Animated Film Market) roared to life mid-week and remained extremely active until its final day on Sunday. Also in this issue, Buzz Potamkin offers an insightful and lively review of this 7th installment of
Annecy's market and what it means to our industry.

Throughout the week, the buzz about the biz revolved around the festival's goal and pending announcement to make Annecy /MIFA an annual event. While there is an unprecedented volume of animated product to be showcased, there are concerns from festivalgoers that a move to an annual event would diminish Annecy's two greatest strengths: quality of work and regular attendance of key players in the industry. It is also uncertain how holding the festival Annecy every year would affect other festivals that place during even years, such as those in Cardiff, Stuttgart and Hiroshima.

Festival director Jean-Luc Xiberras is confident that this is the natural next step for Annecy, continually pointing out the practical and professional sides of the idea. "A two-year break in the festivals means lost momentum; everything has to begin again from scratch." Xiberras said in a festival address. "In a short term, increasingly competitive world, the leading edge has to be maintained. If Annecy were to become an annual event on the international calendar, professionals would flock to the gathering not just in body but also in mind." No decision regarding an annual move has been announced to date, as there were complications around the election of new government officials in France, which would affect the funding status of the festival.

Please visit the
Annecy International Animation Festival web site in the Animation Village of AWN, which includes a complete listing of programs and award winners.

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