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Annecy & MIFA Offer Bigger Mix

The Annecy international animation market MIFA opened its doors this morning to sunshine and a marked growth in, as well as a greater variety of participants, while the festival, which started on Monday, dealt with rain and less U.S.-based company sponsors.

While the absence of a big presence from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network is quite noticable, the French broadcasters and other Europeans have filled the gap for what is the premiere animation festival in the world.

Festival and market director Tiziana Loschi reports 5,900 professionals registered so far, which already is10% increase over last year. This breaks down to about two thirds for the festival, and one third for MIFA. She said they expect 168 buyers.

More than 50 countries are represented this year, especially animation emerging markets. New or more numerous exhibitors this year are Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Iran, Japan and Korea, alongside an increasing European contingent.

More of the companies having a show officially screen in the festival are exhibiting at MIFA.

The focus at the festival and conferences is theatricals, as development of animation feature production in Europe is a growing trend and is reflected in the festival selection and business discussions at the market.

Stephane Lebars, head of French animation union SPFA, repoorts that animation represented a major 15% of total theatrical admissions in France last year. In France, 10 movies counted more than one million admissions, including three French ones -- ARTHUR AND THE MINIMOYS,AZUR ET ASMAR and ASTERIX.

The shorts in competition present so far are off to a stronger start than in previous years. Real crowd-pleasers, with long ovations, are the cut-out style ISABELLE ASU BOIS DORMQANT (SLEEPING BETTY) and classical stop motion PETER & THE WOLF.