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French Institute Alliance Française Brings Animation First to NYC

French animation festival launches in America with 12 U.S. and New York premieres.

NEW YORK -- The French Institute Alliance Française will present Animation First, a celebration of French animation featuring 12 U.S. and New York premieres, Feb. 2-4 in Manhattan.

Animation First features special screenings and events for all ages, putting audiences in the front seat of 3D animation, works in progress, interactive workshops on drawing and sound effects, gaming demonstrations, and panel discussions with leading artists and studio executives.

The festival will present a preview of Terry Gilliam and Tim Ollive's 1884: Yesterday’s Future; a rare Q&A and presentation of Oscar-nominated The Red Turtle with director Michael Dudok de Wit, the festival’s guest of honor; and the U.S. premiere of En sortant de l’école, a collection of animated short films inspired by the poems of surrealist author Robert Desnos.

International superstar and César-nominated actor Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional), who lends his voice to The Day of the Crows (Le jour des corneilles), screening at the festival, will be in attendance for the film’s Q&A along with bestselling French novelist and festival patron Marc Levy (If Only It Were True and film adaptation Just Like Heaven).

The all-ages opening-night celebration is a special 3D screening of Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, followed by a kick-off party at FIAF. After the kids are asleep, stay for a nightcap as the festival presents Erotic Animation, where animators let their imaginations run wild. Sensual, erotic, naughty, poetic or risqué, these fanciful and unconventional shorts celebrate passion, desire and fantasies.

Highlights of the film program include:

  • Michel Fuzellier and Babak Payami’s feature Iqbal, a Tale of a Fearless Child (Iqbal, l’enfant qui n’avait pas peur). Inspired by the life of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani boy who became a spokesperson against child slavery, the film takes an imaginative, inspiring approach to a pressing contemporary issue.
  • Loulou and Other Wolves (Loulou et autres loups), a program of shorts based on the bestselling children’s book by writer and illustrator Grégoire Solotareff. Serge Elissalde, director of the short Loulou, will also be present for a Q&A.
  • 3D Animated Short Films, with 3D festival programmer and director François Serre.
  • The classic 1973 Cannes Film Festival winning Fantastic Planet (La planète sauvage), by animation legend René Laloux.
  • And Pioneers of French Animation, a ciné-concert with a live piano performance.

A partnership with the City of Angoulême, Grand Angoulême, Department of Charente, and Magelis will highlight the unique animation ecosystem thriving in the Aquitaine region of France. A significant number of the films in this year’s edition of the festival were produced in the region, which is home to several of France’s top-rated animation schools and studios.

In collaboration with SolidAnim, a French leader in virtual production, augmented reality will be used in all promotional material created for the festival, which marks one of the first times AR has been conceived for a major cultural project.

Animation First is co-curated by Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF’s film curator, and Catherine Lamairesse, director of special projects at FIAF, who said: “French animation has enjoyed increasing success worldwide in recent years, from the Oscar-nominated Triplets of Belleville to recent hits The Red Turtle and My Life as a Zucchini. With Animation First we are excited to offer New York audiences of all ages the opportunity to explore the breadth and diversity of animation in France, and discover an abundance of creativity across genres and techniques, past and present.”

For information on show times, locations and tickets, visit FIAF online at

Source: FIAF

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.