A Tribute to Jean-Luc Xiberras

compiled by Annick Teninge and Georges Lacroix


The architect of the highly regarded Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Jean-Luc Xiberras passed away on December 26, 1998. We wanted to pay tribute to him for his immense contribution to animation. Here an international selection of friends, colleagues and animators give their final thoughts on a man whose presence in animation will long linger.

Annick Teninge, Ron Diamond, Dan Sarto and Heather Kenyon.
Animation World Network



We discovered the Annecy Festival at the same time Jean-Luc became the director, which means that his image and that of the Festival will remain forever linked in our memory.

We will always retain the impression of Jean-Luc above all as a passionate man. A strong passion though not expressed with elaborate gestures. A passion so intense that it contrasted sharply with his mannerisms, which were marked with a certain reticence. Jean-Luc was neither an extrovert nor a sly boastful promoter, even if he knew how to defend his child with beak and claw when needed.

He spoke to us about his festival just three weeks ago, with a weakened voice, and yet one still felt to what degree he was always occupied with "his" festival. He managed to communicate his passion to a team of collaborators and to us who frequented the festival and found in his determination encouragement to pursue animation. For many directors of animation festivals (and no doubt others), Annecy is and remains the reference point. And the attitude of Jean-Luc in the face of illness, a model of courage and dignity. Even those who did not appreciate him were impressed by this energy and struggle, so intertwined with the festival itself that you can't speak about them separately.

Among other qualities, we have long appreciated his faithfulness in friendship -- a rare commodity these days. It gave us confidence at various times, during different projects that we prepared for Annecy. We were always delighted with these collaborations, even though we knew for him the only thing that mattered in the long run was that his festival would benefit and the audience would go home more satisfied each year. Always larger, always more complex, more diversified, it became a sort of trademark to the point that we would joke about it with him. Not too much though, for "his" festival was so close to his heart, he couldn't imagine anyone speaking about it frivolously.

Jean-Luc gave so much to the festival that those who visited it, as well as those who worked on it, will feel like orphans from now on.

The finest homage that we can extend to him will be to continue to cultivate this festival that we love, like a very beautiful and very rare plant that gives purpose to what we do.

Philippe Moins
Co-Director of the Brussels Festival of Cartoons and Animation

I hoped ever so much that you would win the battle against your illness. I wished that your enthusiastic eyes, which were so happy when they encountered friends and were fed by the many films so full of art and life, would save you. I miss you, dear Jean-Luc, and I will miss your eyes.

Luca Raffaelli
Artistic Director of The Animated Castles

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