Annecy puts spotlight on features

Europe's leading toon fest launch initiatives

PARIS — The Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival, Europe’s largest and most prestigious toon showcase, will launch several initiatives next year designed to put features front and center.

The fest will double the number of pics in competition from five to 10, add more screenings of features, set up a special jury for features, and create new special distinction and audience awards. Steps are intended to reflect the huge growth in box office revenues animated features have been generating globally in recent years.

While an international feature competition has been held at Annecy since 1985, the festival and concurrent International Animated Film Market (MIFA) will be going to greater lengths to offer programs tailored to the needs of film distributors and more preferential conditions for feature producers, as well as organizing daily meetings between filmmakers, producers, distributors and media reps. MIFA remains the only international audiovisual market dedicated exclusively to animation.

Held mid-June in this small city in the French Alps since 1960, the festival has been credited with showcasing the first global hits of Nick Park (“Wallace & Grommit”), Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”) and John Lasseter (“Toy Story”).

Fresh competition will be offered next year with the debut in Portland, Oregon of the Platform International Animation Festival, hoping to be the largest of its kind in the U.S., the week after Annecy closes.