Two months from now I'll be on my way to France for the annual Annecy animation festival - one of the biggest and most important animation festivals in the world. I'm waiting for it for a few months now. Why is it such a big deal, you ask? Well, I guess I have a couple of months to convince you to come along. In the meantime, here's a small glimpse of this year's festival.
Annecy is a wonderful place to familiarize yourself with the most recent animation films. Due to its large selection of films you can recognize visual and conceptual trends, and stay updated not only with full length features, but also with short films you wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to.
The Lost Thing. Last year's winner.
Usually, the Annecy selections have the power to predict next year's Oscar nominations. This is what happened with last year's winner at the Annecy Cristal prize - the grand prix for short animation. "The Lost thing" was one of the biggest surprises at the Academy Awards, competing against a most powerful competitor - Teddy Newton's "Day and Night" from Pixar. That's just one of the reasons to explore this year's upcoming selection.
Watch "The Lost Thing" trailer now. The whole film can be watched here.
Annecy 2011 short films selection
This year you can find 42 short films in the competition, and another 35 films out of competition. I'm not familiar with most of the shorts, and for me this would be a lovely opportunity to catch up. There are a few films I've already seen that I can recommend wholeheartedly. One of these is "Something Left, Something Taken", a black comedy about the Zodiac killer. Although it's not the animated version of David Fincher's "Zodiac", the directors Max Portes and Ru Kuwahata claim this one is also based on a true story. Here is the first appetizer - "Something Left, Something Taken".
Click on the picture or here to watch the film.
Something Left, Something Taken.
In order to create the film, the two directors combined all sorts of traditional techniques, that were later animated in After Effects. They made a lovely making-of If you wish to explore the technique. Watch it here.
"Something Left, Something Taken" was a finalist at the Vimeo Awards competition. One of its fellow competitor was Patrick Jean's "Pixels", that will also compete in Annecy this June. On this film, space invaders from the 80's famous game are translated to a 3D form and invade New York - the actual city. It's only 1.5 minutes long, but deserves every second of your precious time.
By the way, the film that took first place at the Vimeo Awards was Eran Hilely's film. "Between Bears" is a beautifully-designed graduate student film from the Bezalel Academy in Israel.
Some more exciting news for this upcoming festival: the Quay brothers are returning with yet another film. "Maske" is Stephen and Timothy Quay's new short, with a not-so-short running time, from an animation point of view. The 24 minute long puppet animation film will be competing at the Annecy festival as well. Here is a wonderful and disturbing trailer for the film (via Gordon and the Whale, Twitch Film):
The feature films selection hadn't been announced yet.
If it's your first time at Annecy - fear not. There are only two things you should know: the first is how to make paper airplanes, so you could fly them across the theater at the beginning of every screening with the rest of the crowd. This tradition was documented in animation at the end of the trailer of last yea's Annecy here.
The second is the word “Lapin”, meaning rabbit in French, which is traditionally shouted out load by the audience every time they see a rabbit at the Annecy preview clips. And rest assured there will be rabbits.
Watch the trailer of Annecy 2009, and find the Lapin:
One of the ways to make the most out of the festival is not only to watch films, but also to wander along the sites, meet fellow artists, smile to your favorite directors at parties over a glass of French Chardonnay, or eat lunch on a paddle boat in the middle of the lake, while admiring the breathtaking French Alps.
Annecy animation festival will take place between 6-11 June 2011.
For last year's preview you can take a look at an article I wrote for "Film and Festivals" magazine (Issue 22 page 20).