Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” work-in progress sneak peeks at Netflix’s “Klaus” and Warner Animation Group’s “Scoob” look set to be some of the highlights at this year’s Annecy Intl. Animation Festival whose lineup was announced in Paris on Monday.
Opening, as already announced, with the world premieres of an episode from Warner Bros. Animation’s “Looney Tunes Cartoons” and Lino DiSalvo’s “Playmobil: The Movie,” the biggest French production of 2019, and taking in the first screening of DreamWorks Animation’s short “Marooned,” the 2019 Annecy Festival also features Gaumont/Amazon Studios’ “Do Ré & Me.”
Running June 10-15 in a picturesque lakeside town in the French Alps, Annecy has grown year-on-year for near two decades, driven by the resurgence of animation worldwide.
This year’s event, at first glance, looks to underscore two growth drivers. A larger platform on the lake, enclosing a VR area, and the heightened presence of Asian animated features, as Japan’s export sales in particular are swelled by sales to streaming platforms.
Four of Annecy’s eight main competition features this year are from Asia. The festival’s WIP will also highlight “Weathering with You,” Makoto Shinkai’s follow-up to his phenomenally successful “Your Name.”
Directed by Josh Cooley, head of story on Pixar hit “Inside Out,” and weighing in as a love story, between Woody and Bo Peep, and an ongoing debate on what it means to be a toy, if 17 minutes of extracts from CinemaCon are anything to go by, “Toy Story 4” will screen at Anncy in what is described as the French premiere.
Last year, Netflix made its first full presentation of its spectrum of animation types in a presentation led by Melissa Cobb, VP, kids & family. This year, it will showcase family animated movie “Klaus,” from Sergio Pablos, the original creator of “Despicable Me.” A whimsical Santa Claus origins tale, set in a quaint Alpine village and made in 2D but aimed at broad audiences, it is currently being produced at SPA studios in Madrid.
Animated by Reel FX for Warner Animation Group, and directed by Tony Cervone, “Scoob” will be presented in Annecy’s Works in Progress strand, having been sneak peaked via an extract at WAG’s lineup presentation last year, which suggested the movie taps into WAG’s hallmark physical comedy and sense of ensemble frenetic action.
Annecy debuts Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” a special episode which kicks off formally on July 12 the “Best Year Ever” a 20th anniversary commemoration of Stephen Hillenberg’s series and characters. The special features the voice talent behind SpongeBob et al playing live-action doppelgänger versions of their animated characters.
Produced by Gamont and Amazon Studios, “Do, Re & Mi” is an animated lyrical series about three birdie best friends who live in a world of music. Created by Jackie Tohn (“American Idol”) and Michael Scharf (“Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation”), the series’ original tracks are performed by has Tohn, “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell, who voices Anna in “Frozen,” and guests.
One hot ticket at Annecy will almost certainly be “Weathering With You,” Makoto Shinkai’s follow-up to “Your Name” which grossed $358 million worldwide, becoming the third highest-grossing non-English and non-Chinese movie of all time. Set up at The Toho Co.,it turns on a boy who befriends a girl who can change the weather.
Other titles are challenging for this teen fantasy love story space. Depicting the relationship between two surfing lovers, Annecy feature film competition entry “Ride Your Wave” marks the return of Japan’s Masaaki Yuasa who showed extraordinary range in a 2017-18 trio of films, “Night Is Short, Walk on Girl,” Annecy Golden Cristal winner “Lu Over the Wall,” and TV series “Devilman Crybaby.”
Another competition entry, “The Wonderland” is a sixth-grader’s fantasy adventure from Japan’s Annecy Jury Award winner Keiichi Hara (“Miss Hokusai”).
Also in competition, “The Relative Worlds” is the feature film version of Yahei Sakuragi’s parallel universe teen action thriller.
One of the strongest Annecy feature film competitions in recent years also takes in the multi-prized“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles,’ a Gkids North America pick-up strongly sold by Latino Films; dark family comedy “Checkered Ninja,” Denmark’s biggest box office opener ever, sold by LevelK to 50+countries; and “Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” a small female dog’s life story, marking director Anca Damian’s follow-up to Annecy winner “Crilic.”
Also in contention are Italian comic book artist Lorenzo Mattotti’s family adventure “The Bears’ Famous Invasion,” the subject of 2018 Cartoon Movie’s most attended work in progress presentation; and Warner Bros. first Chinese animation co-production, “White Snake,” produced by Gary Wang’s Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation, which grossed $66.1 million in China from a January release.
Potential WIP standouts include “Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannery,” French director Rémi Chayé’s first feature after “Long Way North,” described by Variety as an “animated treasure,” and “Mirror,” an on paper mesmeric VR sci-fi follow-up from Pierre Zandrowicz to his acclaimed VR short “I Philip.”
Annecy Special Screenings also take in “Le Voyage du Prince,” from French animation pioneer Jean-François Laguionie, a director of exquisite, painterly 2D features (“Louise by the Shore”). For its 2019 edition, Annecy is bowing a new section, “Contrachamps” (literally “Countershot”) which frames “Away,” the first feature from acclaimed Latvia’s Gints Zilbalodis, “Homeless,” the feature debut of Chile’s José Ignacio Navarro, Jorge Campusano and Santiago O’Ryan, directors of cult short film hit “Waldo’s Dream”; and Ayumu Watanabe’s fourth feature “Children of the Sea,” acquired last month by Gkids.
Famed French animation producer Marc du Pontavice, co-creator of “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” and Xilam, his production house, will receive the 2019 MIFA Animation Industry Award.
FEATURE FILMS IN COMPETITION
“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles,” (Salvador Simo, Spain)
“Checkered Ninja,” (Anders Matthesen, Thorbjørn Christoffersen, Denmark)
“Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” (Anca Damian, Belgium, France, Romania)
“Ride Your Wave,” (Masaaki Yuasa, Japan)
“The Bears Famous Invasion,”(Lorenzo MATTOTTI, Italy/France)
“The Relative Worlds,” (Yuhei Sakuragi, Japan)
“The Wonderland,” (Keiichi Hara, Japan)
“White Snake,” (Kahong Wong, Ji Zhao, China)
“Away,” (Gints Zilbalodis, Latvia)
“Children of the Sea,” (Ayumu Watanabe, Japan)
“Homeless,” (José Ignacio Navarro Cox, Jorge Campusano Santiago O’Ryan, Chile)
“Kung Food,” (Haipeng Sun, China)
“Salma’s Big Wish,” (Carlos Guttierez, Mexico)
“Underdog,” (Sung-yoon Oh, Chun-baek Lee, South Korea)
“Ville neuve,” (Félix Dufour-Laperriere, Canada)
“Zero Impunity,” (Nicolas Blies, Stéphane Hueber-Blies, Denis Lambert, France, Luxembourg)
“Playmobil : The Movie,” (Lino DiSalvo)
Dreamworks Special Screening:
“Abominable,” (Jill Culton)
“Marooned,” (Andy Erekson)
Other Screening Events:
“Le voyage du Prince, (Jean-François Laguionie, France)
“Looney Tunes Cartoons,” (Warner Bros. Animation)
“Hello, World!,” (Anne-Lise Koehler, Eric Serre, France)
“Human Lost,” (Fuminori Kizaki, Japan)
“SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout” (Stephen Hillenburg, U.S.)
“Spycies,” (Guillaume Ivernel, China, France)
“Toy Story 4,” (Josh Cooley, U.S.)
WORK IN PROGRESS
WIP FEATURE FILMS
“Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannary,” (Rémi Chayé, Maybe Movies)
“Flee,” (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Sun Creature Studio, Final Cut For Real, Vivement Lundi !, MostFilms)
“Josep,” (Aurel, Les Films d’Ici)
“Klaus,” (Sergio Pablos, SPA Studios, Netflix)
“Même les souris vont au paradis,” (Denisa Grimmová, Jan Bubeníček, Les Films du Cygne, Fresh Films, Panache Productions, Cinemart SK)
“Scoob,” (Tony Cervone, Dax Shepard, Warner Animation Group, Warner Bros)
“Weathering with You,” (Makoto Shinkai, Toho Co.)
“Culottées,” (Phuong Mai Nguyen, Charlotte Cambon de Lavalette, Silex Films)
“Do Ré & Mi,” (Fabien Ouvrard, Gaumont, Amazon Studios)
“Eden,” (Yasuhiro Irie, Qubic Pictures, CGCG, Nice Boat, Wolfsmoke)
“Incredible Ant,” (Cheng Li, Alibaba)
“Vanille,” (Guillaume Lorin, Folimage)
“Dislocation,” (Veljko Popović, Milivoj Popović, Lemonade3D)
“Mirror,” (Pierre Zandrowicz, AtlasV)