ANNECY, France — Still flush from a vibrant inaugural edition, the organizers of the European Animation Awards – or Emile Awards, as they are also known – are looking to build for their second edition, adding new categories, nominated titles, panels and presentations.
In another sign of growth, the Emile Awards’ board is in discussions to add a second day to the prizes with events taking place on the afternoon and evening of Friday, Dec. 7.
“Launched with great success in 2017, our brain child has grown up with prodigious speed,” commented Emile Awards president Peter Lord.
News of fast-track growth plans at the European Animation Awards comes as its members have elected a new board and executive, in place for 2018-20.
The number of short list nominations will increase from three to five in order to showcase a larger diversity in submissions for the final vote.
As sound design becomes a key production value for even many shorts at Annecy, the number of award categories will increase from 16 to 18 this year with the addition of sound design plaudits for animated feature and also other works, such as TV series.
Chosen by the EAA board, the Lotte Reiniger Award for lifetime achievement – won in 2017 by Richard Williams – will once more be presented at the Emile Awards prize gala, taking place Saturday Dec. 8, again in Lille, north-east France.
The Awards will be backed foreseeably by France’s Hauts de France Region and Pictanovo, as part of Hauts de France president Xavier Bertrand’s drive to grow the region as an animation hub. The Awards ceremony will be followed by a preview screening of a European animated feature – the much-applauded “The Breadwinner” last year.
But the organizers are also in discussions with the City of Lille in order to find locations and to tap support for new B2B and B2C events in Lille on Friday Dec. 7. The EEA board also hopes that Animation Europe, the European industry org, will host a conference starting Friday afternoon on the financing of animation works.
The EAA organizers will probably organize a master class and a screening related to the Lotte Reiniger lifetime achievement award on Friday Dec 7. In decisions which will be taken after the summer, it is also weighing the possibility of at least one exhibition, as well as another master class.
At Annecy on Monday, the EAA organizers announced a new board. Marie Bro, Olivier Catherin, Doris Cleven, Juan Carlos Concha, Michael Rose were re-elected. New faces are Lise Fearnley (Norway), Eric Goosens (Belgium), Tunde Vollenbroek (Netherland) and Anna Zaca (Latvia).
The new executive board, elected by the 15 members of the board, which will serve through to June 2020, sees Peter Lord re-elected as president, and Didier Brunner and Paul Young as vice presidents. Jean-Paul Commin will continue as general secretary. Joining the executive board are Kristine Knudsen as vice president and Stephan Roelants as treasurer.
As Europe’s animation sector broadens across the board – in subject matter, techniques, formats, origins and gender of young animators – diversity is a mantra for the Emile Awards.
“In December 2017, the first edition of the Emile Awards saw a highly successful rendez vous,” said Jean-Paul Commin.
“It was a real challenge,” he added. “Now a new challenge is facing us: How to do better. The strong involvement of European professionals is our greatest asset. Creativity and diversity of the highly dynamic European animation sector will allow for the development of our event.”
In one drive for larger national diversity, nominations for the Emile Awards will be unveiled at the beginning of November in Athens, after a first short-list unveil in London last year. Greek authorities have shown an interest in being more involved in the Awards.
“We feel it is important to find opportunities to shine the light on some territories not yet well known for animation production but which are showing a strong interest and a wish to develop this important sector,” said Commin. He added that this concern will also be taken into consideration for new activities planned for Friday Dec. 7.
The EAA organizers are also in close contact with Creative Europe’s Media Program so as to establish its best case involvement and support for the event.
The first Emile Awards proved a bracing and enthusiastically embraced showcase of the rich talent, variety, energies and upward ascendance of the continent’s animation industries.
“This is a European event, coming from European professionals that intend to reflect with the Emiles as much as is possible European dynamism, creativity and diversity,” Commin said at Annecy.