Tonight’s closing ceremonies brought more than the jury selections of prize winning films as Serge Bromberg announced that after 14 years at the helm, he was stepping down as Annecy festival director. Marcel Jean, an animation director, producer, writer and former head of the NFB’s Animation and Youth Studio, was brought onstage and introduced as the new festival director. While the move startled many, given Serge’s background and ongoing works as a film producer, distributor, historian and preservationist, in addition to his traveling Treasures From A Chest cine-concert tours, it comes as no surprise that he decided it was time to seek new challenges, expand some of his existing efforts and spend more time with his family.
As Bromberg explained, “At some point in your life, you say to yourself there could be other people, younger or with expertise in other areas of animation, that would be better and bring new ideas, new dynamics. Your heart would probably tell you that the time has come.” He continued, “I’ll still be here next year. I’m not leaving, I’m not quitting the festival. I love this festival. However, my successor will bring fresh air and new ideas.”
According to Jean, he started talking to festival officials almost a year ago, and though there were other candidates, was eventually asked to take over the festival. “For me, it’s both a challenge and an honor. I begin work tomorrow morning.” One of the big challenges he faces, in addition to taking over a festival that has grown significantly during Bromberg’s tenure, is to prepare for an Annecy 2013 festival centered somewhere besides the main arts complex, the Bonlieu, which is scheduled shortly for demolition and refurbishing. As Jean explained, “I have the opportunity to start something new without this great place that has been the heart of the festival for years.”