The Big Sleep is a screening dedicated to the personalities in animated film who recently passed away. A tribute filled with retrospectives, to ensure the talent of these artists lives on at the Annecy Festival.
Bruce Bickford (1947-2019)
Jury member at the 2000 Annecy Festival, the creative adventure for American filmmaker Bruce Bickford started years earlier, with his first animated production in 1970. Not too long after, he started collaborating with musician Frank Zappa, and worked on videos for the albums A Token of His Extreme and Baby Snakes. This artistic pair continued to work together until 1980. If, as a director, he is known for such works as Prometheus’ Garden or the more recent CAS'L', Bickford also leaves behind several film-adaptable texts and stories that bear witness to his passion for writing.
Roger Mainwood (1953-2018)
Before he became the British director that we all know today, directing several successful series and feature films, Roger Mainwood started out by studying at the Royal College of Art. He preferred Halas & Batchelor Studios to the classroom, and started his career as a young animator by working on videos for the German company Kraftwerk or on Gerald Potterton’s Heavy Metal. In the 1980s, he became acquainted with the world of famous writer and illustrator Raymond Briggs, and in 2017 he created a wonderful film telling the story of his parents, Ethel & Ernest, that the Annecy Festival still fondly remembers.
Børge Ring (1921-2018)
Musician by training and animator by passion, Børge Ring had more than one arrow in his quiver. Born in 1921 in Denmark, this jazz musician discovered the movies with his sister, herself a musician for silent films. Just after the war he created his first animation studio, Ring, Frank & Ronde, which specialized in commissioned work. While still wearing his musical hat, he pursued his career in animation at Marten Toonder Studio in Amsterdam, where he worked on projects such as Asterix and Cleopatra and La Ballade des Dalton. Directing films came later in life, with Oh My Darling in 1978, Anna & Bella in 1985, and Run of the Mill in 1999; all genuine masterpieces, winning awards at the Oscars and in Annecy, where Run of the Mill won the Unicef Children’s Award in 2000.
Screenwriter, director, animator, artistic director, songwriter-composer, musician… Rosto was all of these things and more. World-renowned in animation, his hallmark will forever remain the unbridled mix of techniques for his creations, from 3D animation to motion capture, by way of puppet animation. This style can be found starting with his transmedia project, Mind My Gap (1998-2014), to his last opus, Reruns (2018). Rosto was also a regular at the Annecy Festival, where he was part of the selection committee for short and feature films in 2004, and where several of his works were presented. Among his recent works, Lonely Bones won the 2013 Prix Sacem for the best original musical score.
Jon Schnepp (1967-2018)
Producer, director, writer, cartoonist… American Jon Schnepp is especially well-known for directing the documentary The Death of “Superman Lives”: What Happened?, which chronicles the behind-the-scenes events of one of Tim Burton’s films that was never released. He also directed several episodes of Metalocalypse, The Venture Bros, as well as a segment of The ABCs of Death. He was a leading figure on the entertainment website Collider, where he made countless contributions. We will also remember Jon Schnepp for his talent as a voice actor and all of the fantastically hilarious words he invented.
Marek Serafinski (1954-2017)
A graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw with a major in animation, Marek Serafinski oversaw the Animated Film section in the Association of Polish Directors starting in 2002. The core of this director’s work included absurd humor and political activism, giving birth to works halfway between fantasy and reality. This singular atmosphere is also the result of unique animation techniques mixing photos and engravings. In 2004, he opened his own studio, Serafinski Studio, where he produced a number of animated series and short films for several artists, including Agatha, a cartoon for kids.
Will Vinton (1947-2018)
A big name in stop-motion animation and Claymation, Will Vinton never stopped experimenting with technical methods and different creative formats throughout his career. During his work with Bob Gardiner in the 1970s, and then at his own studio in Portland, he produced TV ads, televisions series, as well as short and feature films. Among the most well-known are The Creation (1981), The Great Cognito (1982), The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985), and even the famous ad for California raisins that forever marked advertising history. Will Vinton visited us in Annecy for the last time in 2011 as a jury member for the Graduation Films category.
So many big names in animation that we encourage you to celebrate, and we hope that they will continue to live on in your imagination after this tribute.