Annecy, France -- Boasting the world premiere of Disney short Get A Horse!, sneak previews of Pixar's Monster University and Universal/Illumination's Despicable Me 2, plus a Work in Progress presentation of How To Train Your Dragon 2, France's 37th Annecy International Animation Film Festival hit the ground running on Monday with the largest market attendance in its history.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, accreditations were tracking four percent up on last year with 2,120 accreditations through Saturday. TV buyers and foreign distributor attendance rose 20 percent to 330 through Friday, and the MIFA video library is housing a record-breaking 257 projects.
Companies such as Nickelodeon and Disney are announcing major initiatives and running recruitment sessions to find young, talented artists from all around the world, while others promote their brand with a mix of new content and new technologies, such as Pixar’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of RenderMan with repeat screenings of its new animated short, The Blue Umbrella.
For the first time ever, Brazilian (Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury) and Indian (Arjun, the Warrior Prince) animated features are playing in competition at Annecy; Argentina has a strong 29-exec delegation; South Africa receives a territory focus.
In Asia, companies that used to service U.S. or European animated features are moving from outsourcing into production, and the emerging territory surge is thanks in part to state backing.
“South Africa's government definitely sees animation as a key growth area, which is why we have so much support,” said Stuart Forrest, producer of Annecy competition player Khumba, which was co-financed by South Africa's semi-state Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). “In emerging markets, the child-to-parent ratio is much higher than in the developed markets.”
The Annecy festival runs June 10-15; MIFA June 12-14.