February 5 opening night will feature the Annecy Crystal winning film’s US premiere; the festival will also feature two recently announced special programs highlighting animation from Africa.
FIAF’s Animation First 2021 festival, taking place February 5-15, will kick off its opening night with the US premiere of Calamity Jane (Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannary). Directed by Rémi Chayé, the film took home the Crystal Award for best feature at the 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
Calamity Jane is based on the early life of the legendary Wild West figure. This feminist retelling shows how young Martha Jane Cannary fought against a sexist and male-dominated society to become an iconic frontierswoman.
Chayé, who will be a special guest of the festival, will discuss his newest film in a live talk on Saturday, February 6 at 2pm EST. His 2015 animated feature, Long Way North (Tout en haut du monde), about another adventuresome young girl—this one based in Russia—will also be screened during the festival.
“It's an honor to bring Calamity Jane to FIAF's Animation First,” commented Chayé. “As an American tale, adapted by a French filmmaker, it feels uniquely suited to receive its US Premiere at this Festival, and I look forward to discussing the years-long process of bringing it to fruition with American audiences."
FIAF has also announced two special programs highlighting animation from Africa. The programs are presented in collaboration with Dr. Boukary Sawadogo, professor of cinema studies at the City College of New York and founding director of the Harlem African Animation Festival. The 2013 feature, Aya of Yop City (Aya de Yopougon), is an adaptation the best-selling graphic novels by Marguerite Abouet about three teenage friends. A program of shorts brings together filmmakers from Ghana, Tunisia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso by way of Canada, showcasing the diverse storytelling and multifaceted filmmaking techniques across the continent.
Additional program information is available HERE.