×

Annecy Selects Africa as Spotlight Territory in 2020

The Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival and its Mifa market have selected Africa as the spotlight territory for their 2020 edition, it was announced on Wednesday.

In parallel with the French Institute’s Africa 2020 Season, which will highlight France’s renewed partnership with the continent, Annecy will host screenings, meetings, conferences and discussions shining light on different aspects of animation production in Africa.

“This tribute is a central point of many of our recent initiatives,” explained Citia’s CEO, Mickaël Marin, citing the creation of the Animation du Monde pitching sessions in 2015, as well as the launch of the competitive category Perspectives in 2017, as “two solid examples of our desire to provide increased visibility to these countries and to promote their astounding creativity.”

Mifa head Véronique Encrenaz added: “The presence of African studios and artists is ever higher at Mifa. We would like to showcase it further by creating a special pavilion, as well as a series of meetings and project presentations.”

Nick Wilson, head of projects and content at the African Animation Network (AAN), an open-network platform for African animators and industry associations, said Wednesday’s announcement is further proof that African animators are ready for their close-up.

“The African Animation Network is seeing exponential growth in the African animation industry,” he says. “Bringing the whole continent into sharp focus as part of the Africa 2020 Season at Annecy next year was something that was unfathomable just six months ago, let alone three years ago when we launched AAN. I know that the announcement is going to reverberate across the continent.”

The selection marks the latest step forward in Annecy’s growing collaboration with African animators. In 2017, Annecy’s Intl. Animation Film Market (MIFA) partnered with the AAN and the Discop content market to launch the first pan-African pitching competition for animators, with two winners selected each year to compete with eight other projects at Animation du Monde.

“Animation du Monde has been pivotal for our fledgling industry, allowing African talent market access [while] being able to compete with parity against our global counterparts,” said Wilson, pointing to impressive year-on-year growth in the total number of submissions for the competition as proof that “African talent has aspirations to develop and produce original African IP.”

Last year’s Animation du Monde winner, Togo’s Ingrid Agbo, pre-sold her series “L’arbre à Palimpseste” (The Tree of Palimpsest) (pictured) to Gulli Africa, the Lagardère-owned kids network. Said Wilson: “The stories are unique and we’re confident can travel, which is critical in achieving sustainability.”

Another step toward that goal is the announcement in Annecy this week of a new linear animation and pop culture channel for Africa, which the AAN will formally launch at the Discop content market in Johannesburg later this year, in collaboration with Discop’s organizers, Basic Lead.

The channel will debut with a small block of dedicated African-produced content, which Wilson said will increase as production capacity across the continent continues to grow. “Market access for African-produced content is critical in building sustainable African animation and pop culture industries,” he said. “Launching a 24-hour linear thematic channel with this editorial line will bring us further down the line toward that goal.”

Another positive development was the announcement of the first international service job for Nigeria’s growing animation industry. Episodes of the Chinese animated TV series “Wool Wool Town” will be produced in Lagos by a collective of eight studios comprising more than 50 animators, a project – secured in partnership with Animation Nigeria and India’s Toonz Media Group – that will keep the studios busy for the next 10 months or more.

Also this week, Kenya’s Seventy Two Media, in partnership with the AAN, announced the inaugural African Animation Awards, which will celebrate achievement in the pan-African animation industry. The first edition will be held this October in Nairobi.

The news caps a busy week for African animators in Annecy, which Wilson said “has been an incredible partner of the African Animation Network, and by extension the African animation industry.”

“Being able to celebrate the continent’s diversity of cultures and talents at the most prestigious animation festival and market on the planet [in 2020] will have enormous long term benefits for our industry,” he says. “I don’t think we will fully grasp how enormous those benefits will be until we look back retrospectively in 5-10 years.”

Annecy Festival artistic director Marcel Jean added: “We would like to assist productions from the entire continent and bring them into the spotlight, from pioneering works to contemporary young filmmakers, from the Maghreb to South Africa, and Senegal to Egypt. In the development of this African animation structure we intend to collaborate with local organizations and call on African programmers. This will be the opportunity for festival-goers at Annecy to discover a still far too little known cinematography.”

More Film

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content