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A Tribute to Jean-Luc Xiberras

A Tribute to Jean-Luc Xiberras: The architect of the highlyregarded Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Jean-Luc Xiberraspassed away on December 26, 1998. Here an international selection of friends,colleagues and animators give their final thoughts on a man whose presencein animation will long linger. Available in French and English.

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

I chose to salute Jean-Luc with these lines from the poet Jacques Prévert, for Jean-Luc introduced me to the multi-colored world of animation. Annick Teninge School of Fine Arts"From a box of wooden strawFather chooses a little paper ballAnd lets it fallIn front of the enthralled childrenIt blossomsMulti coloredInto the big Japanese flowerInstantaneous water lilyAnd the children hold their breathsEntrancedNever later in their memoriesWill this flower fadeThis unexpected flowerMade for themIn a minuteBefore their very eyes."- Jacques Prévert

Jean-Luc Xiberras and Annick Teninge at Annecy 98. Photo courtesy of Ron Diamond.

Dear Jean-Luc, The first time I saw you was at "Chez Ani." "Ani" for Animation, as it was the night-club improvised on the grounds of the Ottawa Festival, on the ground floor of some building. That must have been August, 1982. You were at the bar, alone, perched in white on top of a stool. We few Frenchmen at the festival were seated around a low table. One of them told me you would be the next director of the Annecy Festival. I went over to you and invited you to join us. At that moment you gave me in a single smile what you never ceased to offer us all: your confidence, your politeness, and that funny cloudiness in your eyes which was the constant prelude to your magic; giving dreams an earthly life. At your cradle, I suppose some fairy declared that your talent would be to permit things and people, projects and ideas, to assume their whole dimension, as far as their promise allows. So you made of our little festival the very grand festival that it deserved to become. You were the Little Big Man of the Little Big Festival. Once I described to you some of the ideas that you had permitted me to realize: you granted the means that were necessary, you gave confidence, you knew that it would be good. All of that confidence that you had to give, to this one and that, gradually wove the chrysalis that was Annecy, the nights in its theaters, reflecting these dreams made into films. Dreams whose authors you tirelessly visited throughout the world, and as a faithful master of dreams, brought them back to your screens. Your last victory, despite the skeptics, has been to succeed in an incontestable fashion to establish the yearly status of our festival. At the hospital you made us believe -- anesthetizing our nervousness, your fat briefcase bulging with files on the armchair beside your bed -- that finally nothing was really that serious. Even the sickness, you made it doubt, but it gripped you again, realizing, as if in a chase scene of a cartoon, that it was chasing you and not the reverse -- the game however was well played... While a man is alive, you always feel a little shy about saying that you love him. Then comes the time when you can no longer say anything to him at all. You find yourself all alone, too late as I am now, with my little compliments. If I agreed to write them down, it was only to make the time to finally tell you what I neglected to say during all these years of our complicity. For what I am about to write is not really meant for others, because everyone, I'm sure, feels the same. Good-bye, Little Big Man. Gérald Dupeyrot Writer, Producer. Former member of the Administrative Council of the Annecy Festival, organizer since 1983 of 3 conferences on advertising and 2 special selections of my own choosing.

Jean-Luc Xiberras' commitment to French Animation was superb, and without him French Animation would not occupy the place it deserves today among the finest in the world. The quality of his support and the strength of his ideas made him a unique creature. The posthumous homage that I offer him today in no way extenuates the admiration and friendship that I bore him in life. Christian Davin President of the French Union of Animated Film Producers (SPFA)

Dear Jean-Luc, I was so fond of you, Jean-Luc. We were practically neighbors. On the scale of the planet, Valence and Annecy are right next door to each other. You saw me grow up with Folimage studio at the same time that I saw you shrivel at the Annecy Festival. It was as if this ever-growing aspiration you had for the festival thrust, year after year, your head farther down between your shoulders. If you had hardly any neck left, it was because your brain was considerably closer to your heart, your thoughts and feelings having ended up almost joined. Our profession has a lot to benefit from the services of a man with no neck. Does it realize? Then the illness, the terrible agony just before dying, the therapies and finally your resurrection as a Buddhist monk last May. That's the image of you I will keep, your head newly released, beaming, full of naiveté and hope. Jacques-Rémy Girerd Folimage

Annecy 60 poster.

It was with a great deal of sorrow that I learned from Anne-Marie Meneux, on December 26, 1998, of the death of our friend Jean-Luc. We were sure that he would be getting well, since he was as discrete about the gravity of his illness as he was about the considerable problems he had to surmount in order to produce the major event that the Annecy Festival became. I only met Jean-Luc on a few occasions, but each time I noticed his extreme humbleness and his conciliatory disposition, despite the tension of his responsibilities! He offered many reasons to love and respect him for his sincerity and his natural devotion. I am indebted to him for many beneficial initiatives and notable memories. Jean-Luc's constant preoccupation was to further an art form which is a long way from rivaling in popularity live-action feature films or sports competitions! That's what we talked about the last time we met at the Espinho Festival in 1997. The earlier Annecy Festivals were pleasant meetings, but without great impact. At the cost of exhausting, persevering work, Jean-Luc gave to this festival dimensions capable of measuring up to the gigantic, global proportions of animation, and thus opening a limitless market to the works presented there. Jean-Luc must also be credited with having invited animators from distant, isolated and forgotten countries, thus giving us a chance to get to know them, and validating their work. We all owe Jean-Luc Xiberras a part of our ability to make films and gain access to screens around the world! Beyond these words, the finest homage that we can offer him would be to do our best to raise animation to the state of an incontestable art form, the equal of the most beautiful creations in live-action film. I have no doubt that his spirit will be present in the future of the festival to which he devoted himself entirely. Frédéric Back Filmmaker-Illustrator

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

Jean-Luc created a huge family that he reunited each year with tenderness, demanding, and persistence. Tenderness for these big children who refuse to give up their dreams and to sacrifice their imagination, persevering in the expression of the images of their fantasies. Demanding to show this difficult art, of which he defended the quality, originality and richness, whatever the public thought or distribution was. Persistence in the face of unbelievers and skeptics, in order to establish this expression as a different art form all its own, and Annecy as a global meeting-place for animation. Today Animation is considered an international economic and cultural property. Must it always be that the parents retire when the children learn to fly with their own wings? Alexandra Tholance General Delegate of the French Union of Animation Producers (SPFA)

Hail and Thank You, Jean-Luc!! Jean-Luc Xiberras was undoubtedly one of the people who contributed most to the development of the animation industry and more particularly to personal auteur animation during the past 20 years. He offered us, through winds and tides, a place to meet and a platform with the highest visibility in the world for all those who have chosen to consecrate themselves to animation film. In many cases this platform has permitted the production of outstanding films which otherwise would not have seen the light of day. Passionate, determined, extreme as much as modest, he certainly knew how to communicate his passion to a good number of us who work in the animation industry today. The Annecy Festival will never be the same. It has lost Jean-Luc. We hope that this marvelous rendez-vous of animation will remain faithful to his heritage and to he who gave body and soul to it. Thank you, Jean-Luc. Bernard Lajoie Pascal Blais Productions

I had the opportunity of meeting Jean-Luc Xiberras some years ago at Annecy. In 1993 he had asked me to be a member of the jury for the festival. So we had the occasion then to engage in a number of discussions (often very lively!). I found him to be a man both enthusiastic and caring at the same time. In the evening after the screenings, I had the great pleasure of going out to dinner and talking with him until late in the night. Two years later, I returned to Annecy at his request to host, together with him, the Awards Ceremony. The least one could say is that this event was "remarkable." The show that Jean-Luc and I offered on that stage was rather baroque, often witty and indisputably bawdy. Some people in the audience surely must have wanted to throw tomatoes at us... But it remained for us a truly fine memory -- which is why I said, "Yes" without hesitation when Jean-Luc asked me to do the show again the next June. Obviously, I don't like his last joke: not being present on the shores of the lake to welcome us with his enthusiasm and warmth. Philippe Dana Canal +

Dear Jean-Luc, You left us by the lake And without you it will seem less animated It's only a temporary farewell, our friend. Françoise Reymond, Alain Burosse, Véronique Carpentier, Patrice Bauchy, Maria Perez, Pascale Faure, Brigitte Pardo, Marie-Laure Tardy, Joëlle Matos, Philippe Dana. Courtesy of Canal +

Memory from Pierre Jacquier read during the memorial service for Jean-Luc Xiberras in Annecy. I would have liked to be with you for this farewell from Annecy to Jean-Luc. We have lived through a common project, begun as an adventure, which he made a success. For years I have admired his long-term vision and his tenacity to make it come true, day after day. He knew how to involve many people, to incite them, to urge them on, tirelessly, so that you could say that this communal labor -- the Annecy Festival and the MIFA -- we owe to him. I admired him even more for his secret, stubborn fight against a terrible illness which he never complained about except as another difficulty to overcome in order to continue his work. Few men ever reach the pinnacle of their destiny. Jean-Luc was among those who did. I am proud to have worked with him, and profoundly sad to see him leave us. Pierre Jacquier President of the Annecy Festival from 1977 to 1984

Jean-Luc, we would like to thank you sincerely for the great passion for animation you were able to pass on to us and also for making us such a united and solid team. It will enable us, today, to continue, despite of your absence, the fantastic work you have achieved for animation. You can count on us to follow your teachings of these last few years and continue to make the Annecy Festival an appointment rich in surprises and events. Admiration is the first word that springs to mind when we remember you over these last months. You fought the battle against sickness with exemplary courage and strength, to such a point that we could never imagine that during this festive period the final word would be upon us. So, we applaud you and once more say thank you. The Annecy Festival Staff

Hiroshima 1996. From left to right: Hubert Tison, Michiru Samura (from the Hiroshima staff) and Jean-Luc Xiberras. Courtesy of Hubert Tison.

I met Jean-Luc Xiberras in 1982 during his first visit to Canada. Since then, we have communicated with each other regularly. Jean-Luc loved Canada, and above all its animation, to which, moreover, he often gave homage. Recently he spoke to me very little about his health; he was quite courageous in the face of this trial. The last time I spoke to him was in August, and he told me that everything was going well, and that he was confident. But suddenly everything took a swing for the worse. The news of the death of Jean-Luc Xiberras reached us from Anne-Marie Meneux, an astonishing news that pained me very much.

I keep very lovely memories of Jean-Luc. When he visited Canada, he always came to my home; he loved to visit friends. He told us about his work, his challenges, and his dreams. He liked to laugh a lot. He always talked about his famous radishes that he was hoping to plant someday in his garden, but he never had the time. In conversation, work always took up the entire time. He was passionate about the Annecy Festival, and he was also passionate about animation. He always wanted to do better. Thanks to a monstrous amount of work and to his tenacity, he hoisted the Annecy Festival to the top rank among large international animation events. Jean-Luc Xiberras has left us, but not without leaving us a fine example of courage, strength and passion. We salute you, Jean-Luc. Hubert Tison Producer

Hiroshima 1996. Jean-Luc Xiberras and Georges Lacroix. Courtesy of Hubert Tison.

A non-animation memory: I knew Jean-Luc long before he got involved with the Annecy Festival, when he was organizing (along with another person) some film screenings at the Youth Center in Annemasse, a town next to the Swiss border, near Geneva. Then we established a regular relationship in the framework of preparing for the Annecy Festival and through the festivals themselves, with me helping on a professional level as a specialist-historian. Aside from the festivals, we also met many times, sometimes at other festivals, or simply when he was passing through Geneva. Naturally, each time we discussed animation. However we decided, some years ago, to meet neither at Annecy nor Geneva, but rather at his house in Monetier, a town located near Geneva on the route of the old, now discontinued, railroad line connecting Annemasse to Saleve. We promised ourselves, for once, not to talk about animation, which we succeeded in doing. Jean-Luc invited my wife and I to an unforgettable barbecue, which allowed us to discover little-known facets of his activities: his talents as a cook, gardener and host of unsuspected quality. In the garden of his home, right beside the former Monetier station, we spent a very enjoyable day, during which, aside from all sorts of royal treats, we were able to savor a food unknown to our taste-buds before: tuna steaks -- absolutely fabulous! We treasure this simply marvelous memory of Jean-Luc, who that day opened to us a part of his little paradise on earth, which he kept up with great care, even if he was not there very often. For me, this recollection represents a part of the recognition that I owe him, and it will never disappear from my memory. Thank you, Jean-Luc! Bruno Edera Television Suisse Romande

Speech given by Marie-Noëlle Provent during the memorial service for Jean-Luc Xiberras in Annecy.

Jean-Luc's family has decided to bring us together here in Annecy to express memories that we shared with him. It is only fitting, therefore, that this town, through these words, should pay tribute to him.

A tribute to you as a friend, and the work you accomplished during your years spent in Annecy making it the worldly acclaimed meeting-place for the art and economy of animation cinema.

An event that was a major part of your life, and of which you were justifiably proud. You built it, thanks to your hard work, perseverance in always going further, your capacity to encourage those around you to put themselves at your level, which some would say was excessive, but, in fact, was only your driving will to be the best in your field. I, for one, can vouch that personal ambition was not your deepest ambition. Despite of the ever growing heaviness of the load of organizing the event, you never ceased to be a man of culture, ever curious, a discoverer of forgotten talents and those of the future. I can still see your eyes alight when speaking about a Cuban, Korean or Iranian talent that you managed to unearth in order to organize an exhibition or retrospective. At the same time, you considered it necessary to keep up with the times, and, if possible, be one step ahead of them, you opened the door to new technologies and medias, paying the price of the critics' snarls and comments that often hit a sensitive spot, but never stopped you from changing your way one inch.

I believe that deep down your driving force was the relationships you made with those around you. You lived them generously and with a passion. The friendships you weaved around the world will never become untied. We will hold dear the memory of your lust for life and your drive to combat your illness. You never gave in, and how could we have doubted you when we saw you, so happy and confident during the last festival. I would like to say to Nathalie, Valérie and Olivier that we all share in your immense sorrow. In 1985, Paul Grimault said in his speech in Hiroshima:

"A film is never finished; it continues along its path in the mind of the spectator and the seed, if there is one, continues to grow."

You can be sure, Jean-Luc, that your story is not over today. It will rest in our minds and the seeds you have sown are already growing. Marie-Noëlle Provent President of the Festival from 1984 to 1997

Marie-Noëlle Provent, Jean-Luc Xiberras and Georges Lacroix at NATPE 1997. © Animation World Network.

I got to know Jean-Luc in Moscow in 1983. I was working on a broadcast about animation in the Soviet Union, and Jean-Luc accompanied me for several days. I remember how excited he was to meet Ivan Ivanov Vano, the master of all the younger animators at the government animation studio. I can still see him, arms behind his back and head thrust forward, touring every corner of the studios, leafing through all the sketches, curious about everything. I remember how pleased he was to share tea, fried onions and white cheese with Yuri Norstein beside an enormous animation stand built in a deconsecrated chapel in old Moscow. And then all those memories since, marking fifteen years of friendship, that remain so vivid... Louisette Neil La Sept/Arte

July 1983 in front of Moscow's Animation Studio. From left to right: Jean-Luc Xiberras, Yuri Norstein, Louisette Neil, Norstein's cameraman, Marie-Catherine Marchetti. Courtesy of La Sept/Arte.

International animation has lost a true friend and admirer. He was faithful to animation through the last days of his life. But Jean-Luc left us the best heritage of which we could have dreamed. The Annecy Festival. Becoming one of the most important festivals in the world of animation, this special occasion was created by Jean-Luc with all his love, energy and enthusiasm. To be a part of and to experience the Annecy Festival, left to us by Jean-Luc Xiberras, is what I wish for many future generations of animators. Alexandre Petrov Director, Painter, Animator

Jean-Luc was a great professional who made the Annecy Festival the grand manifestation that it became. He was also a man who gave us a sacred lesson in the way he fought the sickness which finally ended him. He was also a friend, a true one, who, once he had given his friendship, would never retract it. Françoise Maupin Media Desk France

The International Animated Film Centre has become an orphan: Jean-Luc Xiberras packed his bags for the last time at the end of 1998. Animation, cinema in general, has lost one of its most fervent defenders, an erudite enthusiast that one only occasionally has the good fortune to encounter. Inexhaustible, inventive, curious, fascinating, enthusiastic; animation cinema was his driving force. He traveled the four corners of the globe to unearth that rare pearl with one objective: to introduce his find to the rest of the profession. He possessed those qualities of being able to look into the past in order to remain faithful to the origins, and also step into the future so as to continue advancing.

Photo courtesy of Annecy Festival.

Animation is generous and eclectic. Jean-Luc fought hard and contributed to making it known in all its facets: Hungarian, Nordic, European, African, Middle and Far Eastern, but also computer generated. Every type of animation has pride in Annecy. With outbursts of contagious enthusiasm, he made the Annecy Festival the not-to-be-missed animation rendez-vous. Adored or criticized, he provoked strong reactions, but supporters and detractors alike were able to recognize this unifying talent, always at the origin of the most wonderful creations. An international festival and market entirely dedicated to animation -- a life's work, his own. What an achievement! A rise from 1,200 festival passes at the first edition he organized in 1983 to 4,300 at the last biennial event in 1997. There is an enormous void which leaves us all empty...A page has been turned in the history of the Annecy Festival and animation cinema, but his name will live on. His courage, his passion, and his determination is with us still. Jean-Luc, we will make Annecy `99 a memorable rendez-vous and we are sure that your strength and convictions will help us along the way to make a success of the festival and market you fought so hard for and until the end. The Annecy Festival

Jean-Luc Xiberras at Canal + booth. Annecy 98. Courtesy of Ron Diamond.

It seems like we've known some people forever, so familiar are they to our world. We can only talk about them in a very personal way. Jean-Luc was one of those. We knew Jean-Luc from his appearances at all the places, exhibitions and events associated with animation. But he was also the smiling friend with a debonair look, a pal in various privileged, warm moments. He was a guy you wouldn't see all the time; it was as if each new encounter with him was a seamless extension of the very last meeting. In 16 years of friendship we've had many funny experiences... How could we forget our radio shows on FR3 during the festivals, the first Annecy Film Market, the finding of talent, the encounters with fantastic artists, and the discoveries, that spontaneously happened, at the Annecy "hot spots." Jean-Luc, my dear friend, you were our accomplice in our gags and hoaxes, like the one in 1989, for instance, where we celebrated totally surrealistic bicentennials during the festival. You managed to keep a fresh attitude while fulfilling your job with passion, to be kind, to make an effort at listening and understanding, and also to be humble, always. Jean-Luc, if there is a heaven for nice people I hope you are there. And, if you can recall these moments, that you're laughing with your big, jolly laugh. Gilbert Hus Project Images Films

Jean-Luc, We know you as a professional in animation, passionate, generous, always thirsty to discover something a little bit farther than the frontiers, a font of knowledge, know-how, compassion. It was this manner of living that permitted you to weave an international network of friendships. For you, the world was only an island. You have also been someone who battled against a sick body, a fight for life, conducted with the same determination that always characterized you. Your courage, your persistence and I would say your scientific rigor, led you to know better and better the limitations of your body, and to go beyond them. Your friends still remember how you led with a masterly hand the 1997 Annecy Festival. They knew that behind the scenes another scenario played out, with repeated transfusions and recuperation thanks to relaxation. Don't tell me it wasn't a challenge to go some 6000 miles to attend the Crossroads of the Image conference on the Island of Réunion that same year (1997). Pierre Ayma and I were nervous about it, but it gave us such pleasure to have you with us on Réunion. Pierre, far from thinking that he would cross through the door to the other dimension before you, insisted on making the round-trip voyage beside you, with the idea that he would be able to help you if necessary. As if to reassure us, you would talk with detachment about how you managed your health from day to day: the number of white cels you had to overcome the symptoms, the little moments of recuperation. Then came that terrible year 1998 when everything went so quickly. Pierre, who had done and given so much to the world of animation, found himself at a crucial hour. He questioned himself due to some people's reactions to his work; he interpreted this as betrayal and interrupted the project that he had undertaken. While being very professional, he functioned in fact on emotion. Without waiting for recognition, he had, like all of us, the need for respect from others. Nevertheless, he dedicated himself to a new large project for networking European colleges in a program of long-distance electronic education. Then we all had to support you because you were getting ready to face the "double or nothing" of a transplant. We saw each other between examinations at the hospital, speaking little of the illness but a great deal about this new project that would take all our energies. Do you remember? It was just a week before Pierre made his "final exit." You had a meeting with Françoise Maupin, always for the project in question. At that time, on Réunion, I had a little health problem which forced me to go to the hospital. You both telephoned me to say, "Get out of there, be more reasonable about managing your health -- we don't want you in our club!" For your part, you had already planned the next step in your battle. The generous compatible donor would be your older sister. So you were more and more convinced that you would get the upper hand on that sick body which you otherwise dominated.

Jean-Luc Xiberras and Pierre Ayma on Réunion Island. Courtesy of Alain Séraphine.

To everyone's surprise, it was Pierre who left us. Despite your condition, you went along with Thierry and Anne-Marie to be at the church where Pierre's funeral ceremony took place. You were pallid. Nonetheless we started to work. Undoubtedly it was our way of showing Pierre that we were going to continue the work we had begun with him, despite our limitations, our insufficiencies, for his absence would weigh on us. You also needed goals in order to win the battle that you were going to engage in the following Monday (the date you would be hospitalized for the transplant). You took charge of several things that Pierre had been handling, in order to pursue the goal we had set for ourselves. The on-line education project became one of your preoccupations then. We prepared the 1998 Crossroads of the Image together. You prepared yourself to take over the presidency of the Institute of the Image of the Indian Ocean. Together we decided on the necessity of having an office in Paris. We didn't know that we would never have the opportunity to discover it together.

Jean-Luc Xiberras staring out over the horizon at the Indian Ocean. Courtesy of Alain Séraphine.

To everyone's surprise, it was Pierre who left us. Despite your condition, you went along with Thierry and Anne-Marie to be at the church where Pierre's funeral ceremony took place. You were pallid. Nonetheless we started to work. Undoubtedly it was our way of showing Pierre that we were going to continue the work we had begun with him, despite our limitations, our insufficiencies, for his absence would weigh on us. You also needed goals in order to win the battle that you were going to engage in the following Monday (the date you would be hospitalized for the transplant). You took charge of several things that Pierre had been handling, in order to pursue the goal we had set for ourselves. The on-line education project became one of your preoccupations then. We prepared the 1998 Crossroads of the Image together. You prepared yourself to take over the presidency of the Institute of the Image of the Indian Ocean. Together we decided on the necessity of having an office in Paris. We didn't know that we would never have the opportunity to discover it together. Despite distance, we communicated regularly. Several times a week. Sometimes you had moments of doubt, signs of fatigue, but you kept your faith in your own abilities to surmount difficulties. On the eve of the last day of the 1998 Annecy Festival, you called me to ask that I definitely be available at the MIFA in the Pipangai booth the next afternoon at 5:00 p.m., because you had arranged an important meeting for me. You surprised us all. It was you who appeared for this meeting. A moment of intense emotion. We all believed at that moment that your battle with illness was won. Had you rushed right through your recovery time? No one knew. You were going to live through a trying time of suffering thereafter... In these difficult moments, you shared a little of your intimacy with me, you who were so reserved as far as your personal life was concerned. I thank you for that token of trust, which gave me the impression of already knowing your family a little, your daughters, your sisters, your brother and Anne-Marie, who would all be there to support you. Please give my greetings to Pierre. If there are autos where you guys are, please arrange an air-conditioned one for Pierre because he can't stand heat! Don't worry too much about us anymore. I thank both of you for having introduced me to a good number of your friends, who have already proven friends of mine as well -- and it's with them that I hope to continue action, adventure, and dreaming a little of building again... I write this letter to you, inspired by the text from Henri Scott, an Irish canon, which Georges Lacroix read at your memorial ceremony. Compliments! Alain Séraphine Director, Fine Arts School of La Réunion Island

Jean-Luc Xiberras and Saeid Bidokhi at Saba Co. Courtesy of Saeid Bidokhi.

Mr. Xiberras was a kind and dedicated man. I met him for the first time in 1995 in the city of Isfahan, Iran. During 1997 and 1998 I held meetings with him in Annecy. At our last meeting, which took place on May 31, 1998 in the festival's office, I offered him a complete profile of our new company and explained to him that in just three years we had started production on 35 different animation projects. He was surprised and told me that he would help us in any way he could. His enthusiasm encouraged me and my colleagues. We invited him to visit our company and sent him a fax officially inviting him to visit our country in February, when we celebrate the anniversary of our revolution, but unfortunately... Saeid Bidokhti Production Manager, Saba Company

A poem excerpt sent by Jean-Pierre Quenet. For Jean-Luc,

The Wolf's Death"Alas I thought, in spite of the great name of ManHow shameful am I of what we are.How to leave Life and all its wrongs,Only you, sublime animals, know it .Seeing what we were on Earth and what we leave,Only silence is great,Everything else is weakness.Go, I understand you well wild wondererAs your ultimate stare pierced straight through my heart,It said ; go, ensure that your soul reaches,By remaining studious and thoughtful,This high level of stoic pride,Where, born in the woods, I initially grew up.Moaning, crying, praying is also cowardly.Energetically do your long and heavy labor,On the path fate calls you upon,Then, afterward, as I do, suffer and die without a word."- Alfred de Vigny