ANNECY, France — As rain dumped down from sky over the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival, the European Animation Awards (EAA) Association held a press conference on Monday to announce details of this year’s third edition.
The annual celebration of European animation, more popularly known as the Emiles, will return to Lille for its third, although likely final time, for a while anyway.
“In 2020 we will be somewhere else,” emphasized EAA president and Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord. “I’m not going to tell you today where that is, but it is absolutely our defining policy to move the awards ceremony around the countries of Europe, because it is absolutely a European celebration.”
The call for entries for this year’s ceremony opens on July 15 and will close Sept 30. The nominees will then be announced on Oct. 18 from Tbilisi, Georgia in a live-streamed press conference as announced on Monday by Georgia’s EAA ambassador Mariam Kandelaki. Voting will be open from that day through Nov. 30.
A special treat for members going forward, this year voters will have access to online screenings of competition films until Dec 31, allowing more for the opportunity to go back after the ceremony and revisit entries they may have missed.
One stand-out feature of the Emiles has always been the lack of a jury or official voters. Any member of the association is welcome to view the online screenings of the nominated content, and vote via the association’s platform. Voting for this year’s awards should be more precise as well, as there is now an opt-out feature for voters who prefer not to vote on specific categories outside their area of expertise.
In keeping with the founding principles of the awards show – celebrating the talent that is too-often ignored at other such events – this year’s festival will introduce a new award, Best Character Animation in a Short Film. This takes the total awards tally up to 19.
A few awards have also been rebranded: “TV/Broadcast” categories are now referred to as “Series,” and the Best Background and Character Design has been simplified to Best Design.
As always, the EAA are looking to welcome new members from all across its 42 member countries. To that end, EAA general secretary Jean-Paul Commin shared news that is sure to strike a chord with the massive student crowd that attends Annecy.
“The awards are an occasion to learn and keep updated on what is happening in animation on a European scale,” he detailed. “This is why we have decided to grant free membership to students.”
Another long-term goal of the Emiles has been to expand its associated activities year round. To that end, the EAA will be hosting a live online discussion with Cartoon Saloon’s “The Secret of Kells” and “The Breadwinner” director Nora Twomey the week after Annecy. On June 19, at 5pm BST (9am PST), the filmmaker will engage in a Q&A via the organization’s Facebook page and official website: www.animationawards.eu.