The Annecy International Animation Film Festival and its Film Market (Mifa), has selected Africa as the spotlight territory for their 2020 edition.
In parallel with the French Institute’s Africa 2020 Season, which will highlight France’s renewed partnership with the continent, Annecy will host screenings, meetings, conferences and discussions shining light on different aspects of animation production in Africa.
They desire to provide increased visibility to these countries and to promote their astounding creativity, citing the creation of the Animation du Monde pitching sessions in 2015, as well as the launch of the competitive category perspectives in 2017, as examples.
Mifa head Véronique Encrenaz added: “The presence of African studios and artists is ever higher at Mifa. We would like to showcase it further by creating a special pavilion, as well as a series of meetings and project presentations.”
The selection marks the latest step forward in Annecy’s growing collaboration with African animators. In 2017, Annecy’s International Animation Film Market (Mifa) partnered with the African Animation Network (AAN) and the Discop content market to launch the first pan-African pitching competition for animators, with two winners selected each year to compete with eight other projects at Animation du Monde.
Last year’s Animation du Monde winner, Togo’s Ingrid Agbo, pre-sold her series “L’arbre à Palimpseste” (The Tree of Palimpsest) (pictured) to Gulli Africa, the Lagardère-owned kids network.
Another step toward that goal is the announcement in Annecy this week of a new linear animation and pop culture channel for Africa, which the AAN will formally launch at the Discop content market in Johannesburg later this year, in collaboration with Discop’s organisers, Basic Lead.
The channel will debut with a small block of dedicated African-produced content, which will increase as production capacity across the continent continues to grow.
Another positive development was the announcement of the first international service job for Nigeria’s growing animation industry. Episodes of the Chinese animated TV series “Wool Wool Town” will be produced in Lagos by a collective of eight studios comprising more than 50 animators, a project – secured in partnership with Animation Nigeria and India’s Toonz Media Group – that will keep the studios busy for the next 10 months or more.
Also this week, Kenya’s Seventy Two Media, in partnership with the AAN, announced the inaugural African Animation Awards, which will celebrate achievement in the pan-African animation industry. The first edition will be held this October in Nairobi.
Annecy Festival artistic director Marcel Jean added: “We would like to assist productions from the entire continent and bring them into the spotlight, from pioneering works to contemporary young filmmakers, from the Maghreb to South Africa, and Senegal to Egypt. In the development of this African animation structure, we intend to collaborate with local organisations and call on African programmers. This will be the opportunity for festival-goers at Annecy to discover a still far too little known cinematography.”
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival was created in 1960 and takes place at the beginning of June in the town of Annecy, France. Initially occurring every two years, the festival became an annual event in 1998. It is one of the four international animated film festivals sponsored by the International Animated Film Association. The festival is a competition between cartoon films of various techniques (animated drawings, cut-out papers, modelling clay etc.) classified in various categories: Feature films, Short films, films produced for television and advertising, student films and films made for the internet (since 2002).