‘Waltz With Bashir’ opens Annecy

Festival to put emphasis on Bollymation boom

Israeli helmer Ari Folman’s “Waltz With Bashir,” an animated documentary about the 1982 massacres of Palestinian civilians, opens the 32nd Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival today.

Annecy promises sneak peaks or full screenings of pics from France’s burgeoning toon pic industry, and a large emphasis — through pics, guests and conferences — on the Bollywood animation boom.

The six-day fest will world preem two Pixar shorts, Doug Sweetland’s “Presto” and “Glago’s Guest.”

Helmer Bibo Bergeron will present “A Monster in Paris,” the key animation project at Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp outside its “Arthur” trilogy, at fest’s Work in Progress initiative.

Also in Work in Progress, director Jerome Deschamps will talk an audience through MK2’s big animation bet, “The True Story of Puss ‘n Boots.” Albert Pareira Lazaro and Emmanuel Klotz will screen a brief extract of comedy “Les Lascars,” a bigscreen adaptation of the hit Canal Plus TV series.

Premieres section includes Belgian Ben Stassen’s Berlinale sales hit “Fly Me to the Moon,” an early Euro 3-D film, and the world premiere of Jacques-Remy Girerd’s “Mia et le Migou,” the latest toon feature from France’s Folimages Studios.

The India program features three short film programs, an evening of celebration, and a one-day conference entitled India: a Future Animation Giant. Speakers include DreamWorks Animation producer Joe Aguilar, Saraswathi Balgam from India’s Rhythm and Hues Studios (VFX on “The Golden Compass”), Tapaas Chakravarti from animation powerhouse DQ Ent., and Nandish Domium from the Thoms Technicolor Contents Services-owned Paprikaas, which has formed a strategic alliance with DreamWorks Animation.

The seven-film competition includes Bill Plympton’s black comedy “Idiots & Angels,” Sundance player “Fear(s) of the Dark” and another French standout, Futurikon’s “Dragon Hunters.” A separate competition takes in segs from 43 TV series.

The Mifa market runs June 11-13. According to Mifa managing director Mickael Marin, attendance is up to 1,700, and should end up at a record 1,900, 10% up on last year.

“That reflects in part the increased professional facilities at Mifa from 2005, such as the digital video library,” he said.

Yanks dominate the fest’s personalities list. Speakers will include Matt Groening and David Silverman, for a “Simpsons” extravaganza, and U.S. toon guru Richard Williams (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit”), who will present an Animator’s Survival Kit.

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