Read through the history of the Annecy Festival, from its beginnings in the 1960s with the Jica and Asifa; the creation of Cica; the economic dimension of the event and the arrival of the International Animation Film Market (Mifa) in the 80s; the Festival's flourishing years in the 2000s and the creation of CITIA; to reach its 50 years of existence as a mature festival in 2010, while the Mifa celebrates it's 30th birthday in 2015.
This year the Festival reached a huge milestone, 10,000 accreditations! Also, the number of films submitted continues to increase, with 230 films officially selected out of the 2850 registered.
China, our guest country for this edition was showcased throughout the event. Representing the country’s flag were 130 delegates covering 183m² of the Mifa pavilion. There were special programmes dedicated to Chinese animation, an exquisite exhibition China, Art in Motion, a performance that was produced by Sun Xun, and more.
Mifa continues to expand in all directions, with a surface area that reached 6000m², 9% more accreditations, 200 extra companies and an increase of 16% in the number of purchasers, distributors and investors. This year a full day was devoted to students, the Mifa Campus, with Guillermo del Toro as their mentor. It was a duo of distributors who won the Mifa & Variety's Animation Personality of the Year Award: Marc Bonny from Gebeka Films and Eric Beckman from GKIDS.
Once again the Annecy Festival has broken its record this year, passing the mark of 9,150 accredited festival-goers, 2,700 films in the running for the official selection, and 400 projects vying for participation in the Mifa pitch sessions. Equally, myriads of special programs revolved around the three specially-featured themes: French animation, advertising animation and the year honoring France/Korea.
This year’s edition included a host of key figures from the animation world, numerous outstanding film previews to the delight of crowds, as well as new formats for the Rencontres and the Work in Progress sessions for TV series, already an acclaimed public success.
As for awards, this year’s Honorary Cristal was bestowed on famed producer Didier Brunner, while the Mifa & Variety’s Animation Personality of the Year Award was conferred to Peter Lord and David Sproxton, co-founders of Aardman Animations studio.
The Mifa, having feted its 30th anniversary in 2015, continued to confirm its strategic positioning as the top International Animation Film Market. Proof of this: the visit by François Hollande, President of France, and Audrey Azoulay, French Minister of Culture and Communication.
Annecy 2015 was a record breaking year right across the board: the number of accreditations, countries represented, sneak previews and films received. The event also welcomed many personalities from the world of animation. Women in Animation and Spain, the two topics in the limelight this year, were equally well received. The ladies were generally well represented, with Florence Miailhe receiving an Honorary Cristal and Regina Pessoa creating the official poster.
Some of the biggest animation studios visited the Mifa, who was also celebrating its 30th anniversary. This was the perfect occasion to launch the Mifa & Variety’s Animation Personaliy of the year award, presented to one of the industry's most illustrious figures, Chris Meledandri.
Other new formats were also set in motion for 2015: the Studio Focus sessions, enabling studios to reveal their latest work; the Keynote speeches, for big names in animation like Chris Meledandri and Genndy Tartakovsky to share their knowledge and experience; the Animation du Monde Pitches, to spotlight emerging countries in animation production and the Students' Snack Time, to give the floor to some of the youngest filmmakers.
Stop motion animation was in the limelight this year with many special programmes devoted to the technique, conferences and exhibitions as well as the Festival poster created by Franck Dion. Annecy was honoured to welcome Isao Takahata, who also received an Honorary Cristal Award.
New for 2014 was the creation of a short film competitive category, Animation Off-Limits, and part of the programme available online at MyHomeFestival.
The Conferences were able to find their relative public after being redesigned, expanded and divided into the three categories of Creation, Business and Production Organisation.
There was also a sharp increase of exhibiting companies at the Mifa, along with American majors including Nickelodeon, Disney, Pixar and Cartoon Network. Next year the Market will be celebrating its 30th birthday, presenting the perfect occasion to celebrate the evolution of the animation industry and its future.
The 2013 Festival was full of remarkable events such as Poland as the guest country, a Special Cristal Award for Jerzy Kucia's career, Calimero's 50th birthday, many sneak previews and screening events. The public voted for films via the election of the funniest film and the Audience Award and, above all, the event was marked by the style of Marcel Jean, the new Artistic Director.
Aurélie Filippetti, the Minister of Culture, visited the Mifa which unveiled new meetings such as the Mifa Talks and the Share With sessions.
New studios like Illumination Mac Guff, Laika or Method Animation were also able to appreciate the recruitment sessions at the Creative Focus.
Figures: 7,100 delegates with accreditation including 2,400 from the Mifa.
Ireland was the guest country for 2012 with a rich and varied programme, including a number of sneak previews such as Patrice Leconte's The Suicide Shop and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
Mifa's new events and spaces (Territory Focus, Mifa screening, Demo Room...) provided more visibility for visiting companies and countries and encouraged networking possibilities throughout the week.
25 projects were presented at the Creative Focus. There was also a focus on African animation and 19 recruitment sessions.
Over 900 people followed the conferences.
An animated week rich in events and surprises!
A spotlight on independent American animation was one of the main highlights of the Annecy 2011 programme.
Mifa: programme overview, Ankama’s 10th birthday, SFPA, UniFrance and Canal+ Family press conferences.
VIPs, the Festival was proud to welcome Leiji Matsumoto!
The Minister for Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand also attended the Festival and presented the Annecy 2011 YouTube award at the special Disney.
15 full-time staff on the organising team
A team of 15 full-time staff was put in place, supervised by Tiziana Loschi, with Dominique Puthod as President, and following the death of Jean-Luc Xiberras, Serge Bromberg took over the position of Festival Artistic Director in 1999, creating a collective organisation to develop the event as a whole.
Roy Disney for the 40th anniversary
Serge Bromberg invited Roy Disney to be honorary president for the 40th birthday edition of the Festival. This symbolic gesture proved that Annecy had reached maturity and the event should no longer be conceived and perceived as an alternative to American animation but as a melting pot for all animation. It was from here on in that Annecy was able to develop with confidence in relation to the majors.
More and more premieres
During the 2000s, sneak preview screenings increased significantly bringing about greater media coverage of the event. France and Europe also began making more and more animated features, providing an easier editorial balance in the presentation of film events.
Creation of CITIA, city of moving images
In 2006, the fusion of the two associations, Cica and Pumma, gave rise to l'établissement public de coopération culturelle (EPCC – Public Institution for Cultural Cooperation), CITIA. Patrick Eveno took over the management after being recruited to work on a project based on "moving images" and focusing on three complementary areas: culture, education and economy. From that time on, thirty people would work year round at CITIA, on the organisation of the Festival, the Mifa and other activities.
A mature Festival
In 2008, the Festival experienced an increase in its main figures: 6,700 accredited delegates equal to a 10 % rise in attendance, 1,867 films submitted, 284 chosen for the official selection, 300 attending journalists, 20 % additional exhibition space at the Mifa, making an area of 3,000 m² in all and over 1,100 companies registered. The following year the Festival was showing an impact both globally and through its involvement on a local and regional level.
The 2010s: 50 years of unwavering commitment!
The 34th Festival also celebrated its 50th birthday in 2010. Over 50 high-profile guests made the trip to Annecy to celebrate this anniversary which was widely covered internationally.
A 5-DVD collection and a book, Creatures and Creators, containing drawings by major artists from the world of animation, was specially created for the occasion.
The American studios arrive
From 1985, American studios were increasingly more visible at the event and proof that the changes of 1983 were bearing fruit. That year the public were treated to a programme of 9 Oscar-winning films made at the Disney studios, followed in 1987, by a tribute to Warner Bros. and in 1989, the visit of a large Disney delegation.
Growth in figures
Between 1983 and 1997, the event experienced a double-digit growth with the number of participants going from 900 in 1983 to 4,300 in 1997 and the number of films received from 386 to 1,271. All this was due to a favourable context, the shortening of production deadlines, the expansion policy of the event and the creation of the film Market. These factors also led to a significant increase in media coverage with over 250 journalists attending the event at the end of the 90s.
Evolution in the public
Up to 1981, the visiting public were mainly made up of members of the film club and professionals from the artistic side of the business. From 1983, the success of the event, along with the evolution of the sector, led to a rise in the number of visiting professionals from both the cultural and economic sides of the industry. In 1993, the Cica set up a giant screen outside on the Pâquier lawn for the first time so that the local general public could see the films and have a real contact with the Festival.
In September 1997, the Board of Directors voted for the annualisation of the event for several reasons: an increase in production, difficulties in selection, rejection of too many films, competition from other events, the need for an annual market and a full-time organising team. Thanks to this decision, Annecy was able to consolidate its position as the leading international competitive festival devoted to animation.
The break of 1982
In 1981, the arrival of a new government that was interested in a decentralisation policy made it possible for Annecy to take over the event. The CNC was ready to support this move and ASIFA, under pressure from international filmmakers, also wanted to see changes in the Festival and its film selection process. Talks duly began between the CNC, Senator Charles Bosson (founding President of the Festival) and Jica President Pierre Jacquier. In the end, it was decided not to renew the director's contract, to transfer the administration from Paris to Annecy and set up an international selection committee.
A new ambition
In July 1982, Jean-Luc Xiberras was hired to develop these new policies and reconnect with the animation profession that had become divided after the demise of the event's director. The Annecy film club was also keeping its distance and supported Raymond Maillet, who wanted to create another festival. The Festival of 1983 was organised in this somewhat controversial climate and took place in the newly constructed cultural centre of Bonlieu. The existence of several theatres now made simultaneous screenings possible, in varied formats and on different media, which was unthinkable in the old casino-theatre. The first ideas for a film market were getting off the ground and thematic conferences were also organised. By opening up to all the aspects of animation, cultures and techniques, Annecy 1983 proved to be a real success.
New formats for the competition
In 1984, Marie-Noëlle Provent took over from Pierre Jacquier at the head of the Jica. The organising association became the Centre international du cinéma d’animation – Cica (the International Animated Film Centre) and adopted a new status aiming to expand activities related to animation and promote local roots of the event. From then on, decisions were taken bearing in mind the developments of animation and the audiovisual sector. After commissioned films were included in the competition in 1983, a competitive category was also set up for TV films in 1985.
Creation of a film market
The Minister for Culture, Jack Lang, was appointed in 1981 and gave a real opportunity for the event to develop by promoting "new images" and setting up an "Image Plan". On the strength of this, the first International Animation Film Market (Mifa) was co-organised by Cica and the Octet agency in 1985. Jack Lang remarked that this market "responds to the need to now consider the development of this sector as a whole and particularly in its economic aspects". For Cica, the market gave films presented in the official selection a better chance of finding a distributor. Government policies set up in the 80s were able to create a favourable environment for French animation and the emergence of a national economy.
Jica is back
Thanks to the commitment of the Senator and Mayor of Annecy Charles Bosson, film directors and the film club, the Festival was able to make its return. Raymond Maillet, the right-hand man of Pierre Barbin, and a great animation fan with exceptional knowledge about the films and filmmakers, took over the reins of the Jica, and attendance from professionals and the viewing public increased up to 1975. During this period, the heritage aspect was particularly highlighted with regular exhibitions at the Musée-Château. But this attendance curve was reversed in 1977, due, of course to the emergence of new events, but also to growing disputes between Annecy, the administrative offices in Paris and film directors.
An active film club
The existence of an active film club in Savoie, combined with its leading members being in close contact with the team at the Journées du cinéma event, made it a lot easier to set up the Journées internationales du cinéma d’animation (Jica) in Annecy, with Pierre Barbin as Executive Director and André Martin and Michel Boschet, Assistant Officers of the event.
In 1956, the heads of the film club, Henry Moret and Georges Gondran, were at Cannes to take part in the first Jica held in conjunction with the main festival. From the meeting of these two teams, the seeds of an idea were sewn to set up a festival devoted to animation in Annecy. With its proximity to Geneva and airport, the presence of a theatre and a receptive audience due to the work of the film club, the town presented many advantages and in 1959, the town council voted to host the event.
A competitive Festival
In 1960, Annecy held the 3rd Jica and the Festival became competitive. Meanwhile, the foundations of an international animation film association (Asifa) were being laid and the concept of animation gradually institutionalised. In 1963, to counter competition, the Festival moved to odd years. The following year, an agreement was concluded with ASIFA confirming the biennial nature of the Annecy Festival, and gradually the codes of a major event were put in place with a strict selection process, tributes, retrospectives, publications, exhibitions, special guests and the presence of 25 delegations from abroad.
A year without a festival
At the beginning of 1968, the appointment of Pierre Barbin as artistic director of the Cinémathèque française, replacing Henri Langlois, followed by his resignation in April, triggered a major national situation. The following year, the Festival did not take place as the CNC were not in a position to give financial support. The State became involved, through the Minister for Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, who proposed to abandon the event.