38th International Animated Film Festival, Annecy
France, June 9 - June 14 2014
This year, the Festival International du Film d’Animation selected 230 films across several sections. Next to the long and short film competition, many screenings in special programs, lectures and cine concerts also took place. Additionally, the MIFA (International Animation Film Market) offered many press conferences and pitches. In its second year under the direction of Marcel Jean, the festival focused on stop motion animated films, demonstrating that this technique still has much potential for a contemporary styleof cinema. Annecy, the charming capital of the region Haute Savoie struggled this year with an extremely hot summer climate. But it succeeded — not only because the acclimatized cinemas brought some refreshment. The program altogether offered enough exciting films fromold masters and young talents alike. Starting with The tale of the Princess Kaguya (Kaguya-hime ne monogatari), the newest film from seventy-nine year old Japanese animator Isao Takahata put a mark on this concept. Takahata really seemed to be happy to get the honorary award (Crystal) during the opening ceremony in a huge cinema stuffed with many excited and very young people. In the end, the second film fromthe 1971 Brazilian born filmmaker, Ale Abreu, won the main price (and also the audience price) for his feature film. The Boy and the World (O menino e o mundo) tells the self-searching journey of a child who is missing his father.
Our FIPRESCI jury had to choose a winner from the forty-three shorts presented over 5 programs. The spectrum of techniques and themes was wide ranging, though we found our main candidate very quickly. Maybe it had to do with the fact that only a few films focused on social, historical and political topics using innovative strategies. We were glad to praise a strong debut from Canada made by two young filmmakers. No Fish Where To Go (Nul Poisson Oú Aaller) is a twelve-minute study on violence, showing it as something hidden beneath the surface of a “normal life”. It is made with traditional hand drawn animation but never looks old fashioned because the perspective is fresh and the message universal.
For one week the festival tried to reclaim its status as the world’s capital of animation film. Whether this aim was reached must be decided by each visitor for him or herself. There was high praise from the audience each evening when the open-air screenings took place. Thousands of enthusiastic guests enjoyed the spectacle. (Claus Löser)
International Animated Film Festival, Annecy: www.annecy.org