Annecy Animation Festival Shares First Details of 2020 Online Edition

Annecy Festival

MADRID —  June’s Annecy Festival, the world’s highest-profile animation event, has shared first details of its 2020 online edition and confirmed that Hollywood studios and major streaming platforms will continue to have a presence at this year’s totally online event.

Even before France’s COVID-19 lockdown, “we were getting strong support from the studios and platforms,” said Mickaël Marin, CEO of Citia, the Haute Savoie creative industry body with oversight of both the festival and market.

“Next June, we will keep what you’ve seen in the recent years at Annecy: Platforms and studios participating, in different ways, in our online event,” he added.

Running June 15-30, and shaping up as Europe’s second biggest industry event of the late Spring/Summer, Annecy looks set to collaborate with the predictably biggest, the Cannes Film Market online, scheduled for June 22-26.

“We are working on synergies with Jeróme Paillard at the Marché du Film. Both of us want to help creators, directors and companies, because they need it more than ever,” Marin said.

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L’Impérial Palace, Annecy Annecy Festival

Annecy is embraced by Hollywood studios as their own, as well as the whole of burgeoning world cinema national toon industries.

Netflix first publicly unveiled its ambitions in the kids and family space at Annecy in 2018. In 2019, with Netflix now full-on, making four presentations, Disney unveiled “Monsters at Work” and sat down with producers to explain their interests; Warner Bros. Animation unveiled a handful of “Looney Toons” shorts and feature “Scoob”; DreamWorks Animation sneak peeked “Trolls World Tour”; Sony Pictures Animation unveiled its upcoming slate and Nickelodeon celebrated Sponge Bob’s anniversary.

So, a major question for this year’s online event is whether such players will pack it with the force and enthusiasm that they have shown for recent on-site events, and whether other new global platforms will come to the party.

Annecy’s MIFA Market Pitches will be unveiled on May 5, the festival’s feature films and VR works selection on May 18. Most MIFA events and meetings will unspool over Tuesday June 16 to Friday June 19 to allow producers and executives to concentrate on the first week, said MIFA head Véronique Encrenaz.

Annecy’s work-in-progress sessions, where some of the biggest titles in the animation world are talked through to producers and animation school students, will run over both weeks, said Marin.

Films and series episode presentations with a Q & A at their end will be limited  to 1,000 viewers. MIFA pitches will be pre-recorded and then released according to a schedule but remain for two weeks on the Annecy platform.

“Some studios or companies want to take advantage of an online edition to allow more employees – people who know Annecy but cannot usually attend – to be part of Annecy this  year.” said Marin. “Some will take a huge number of accreditations.”

MIFA is already sparking large expectation in Europe, China and Latin America, Encrenaz added, saying that countries were organizing national delegations as usual, with part accreditation being paid by government-backed organizations. MIFA partners, she added, have stood by the festival. All the territory focuses will take place as planned, but moved online.

Festival and industry prizes look set to be announced at the end of the first week so that winners can benefit from extra attention.

“The idea is for us to help the movies and director. The best way to help is to give prizes. The films and series that win can have a strong career in festivals and the Oscar race. It pushed us to organize online,” Marin told Variety.

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Mikael Marin and Veronique Encrenaz © G. Piel/S. Matter/CITIA