You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toon talent flourishes at Annecy

Talent forum, film school screenings among big draws

ANNECY, France — Scouts in the toon biz have known for years that the shores of the turquoise-hued Lake Annecy are one of the best places to unearth new animation talent.

And last week, during the French city’s 30th Intl Animation Festival attended by special guest Tim Burton, studio suits were again eagerly checking out the latest crop of dreadlocked art students hoping to break in to the biz.

On the main festival front, Annecy’s selection of five competition features held no great surprises — with Europics “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit,” “Asterix and the Vikings,” and “Renaissance” competing with the Asian offerings, “xxxHOLIC: A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Origin — Spirits of the Past.”

Artistic director Serge Bromberg scored kudos for his out-of-competition lineup. Program included the world preem of “Monster House,” Sony’s first foray into 3D animation, and “Cars,” which Annecy attendees were able to see several hours ahead of U.S. audiences.

For the Hollywood contingent, the new talent forum, and a packed program of film school screenings were clearly the big draw.

“Annecy is the one festival in the world where you can identify animation talents. It’s No. 1,” says Dreamworks’ European rep Shelly Page, an Annecy habitue attending this year with colleagues John Tarnoff, in charge of show development; Kristoff Serrand, animation senior on “Over the Hedge”; and Cassidy Curtis, senior animator on “Madagascar.”

Some 50% of DreamWorks Los Angeles based animators are non-Americans, and another handful of foreign newcomers joined the team after meetings at last year’s fest, Page says.

The many companies hiring for specific projects this year included France’s Attitude Studios, which begins work this week on Focus Features’ first 3D animation pic “9,” and Folimages, another Gallic company, a quarter of its way through “Mia and the Migou,” helmer/producer Jacques Remy Girerd’s follow-up to “Raining Cats and Frogs.”

“I’ve met more people here in one day than I do in Paris in six months,” said screenwriter/director Pascal Stervinou.

Under the same roof — of Annecy’s lakeside Imperial Hotel — films and TV shows changed hands and production deals were mulled within the framework of the main MIFA animation mart.

This being animation, the crowd sipping cocktails on the terrace all looked to be 25 at the oldest — and dressed distinctly scruffier than the folk usually encountered at industry marts.

Organizers estimated participants at around 5,000-6,000 attendees for the fest and mart combined, with a 40% increase in exhibiting companies to some 150.

“We’ve made efforts to make the market more attractive to participants,” asserts managing director Michael Marin. “And the animation sector is also in better shape than it was two or three years ago.”

New MIFA initiatives included a buyer-friendly digital videotheque along the lines of rival mart MIPCOM Jr.’s.

More Film

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content