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Annecy Film Festival Presentations Include ‘Frozen 2’ Doc, Lord & Miller, and ‘Chicken Run’ Reunion

Frozen 2 Disney
Courtesy of Disney

Netflix, Disney Sony, Cartoon Network Studios, Dean DeBlois and Aardman are reading presentations at France’s Annecy Film Festival — as 2020’s Annecy, even online, once more proves to be the biggest animation fest in the world and the international event with the largest Hollywood and now global platform presence.

Put together, Annecy’s latest big wave of programming announcement suggests that its move online will mean no world premiere of a potential Hollywood blockbuster – such as, in the past, the “Despicable Me” movie series. With more studio involvement most probably still to be announced, many of the good and great of the English-speaking animation world do look more than willing, however, to roll up their sleeves to update accredited festival viewers on upcoming releases such as, of titles now announced, Netflix’s “Wendell & Wild” and Sony Pictures Animation’s “Connected.”

NETFLIX

A masterclass between stop-motion luminary Henry Selick and composer Bruno Coulais will discuss the role of music in Selick’s movies, including Coraline and upcoming Netflix original “Wendell & Wild” with Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key and two demon brothers.

As already announced, in another Netflix-related event, a Making Of panel, “Animal Crackers” directors Tony Bancroft and Scott Christian Sava will be looking back on the tortuous road from a dream preem in Annecy – competition, Variety calls it “delightfully inventive, frequently hilarious” to final global distribution.

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Animal Crackers

DISNEY

“Frozen 2” filmmakers, including Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee and fellow director Chris Buck, will offer a behind the scenes look at the creation of one of Disney’s most ambitious animated sequels and its accompanying documentary series “Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2,” with episode one available on the festival’s platform June 26-28 and the entire series on Disney Plus from June 26.

SONY

Sony Pictures Animation will deliver an update from the team behind its upcoming film “Connected,” out Oct. 23 in the U.S. The video presentation includes producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, director Mike Rianda, head of story Guillermo Martinez, and production designer/lead character designer Lindsey Olivares.

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Phil Lord, Chris Miller and Mike Rianda Sony Pictures Animation

CARTOON NETWORK STUDIOS

Artists from several Cartoon Network classic series will jointly host a masterclass focusing on the art of storyboarding. Attendees include “The Amazing World of Gumball” series director Mic Graves, “Summer Camp Island” creator Julia Pott, storyboard artist Alabaster Pizzo and “Apple & Onion” director Chuck Klein.

DEAN DEBLOIS (Masterclass)

“How to Train Your Dragon” director Dean DeBlois will join Variety’s Peter Debruge in conversation on Thursday, June 18.

AARDMAN

Aardman will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “Chicken Run” with a reunion between directors Peter Lord and Nick Park.

BAOBAB

Also in Thursday’s presentation announcement, VR animation leader Baobab Studios will take accredited festival viewers through a first look at its newest immersive experience, “Baba Yaga,” directed by Baobab Studios co-founder Eric Darnell and co-directed by Mathias Chelebourg, and billed as a contemporary portrayal of the Eastern European legend. Available June 15-30, a live Q&A will also be held on June 23.

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Baba Yaga Poster Baobab Studios

SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN ANIMATION (Masterclass)

French filmmakers Nicolas Blies and Stéphane Hueber-Blies will lead a discussion on Sexual Violence in Animation, using a trio of cinematic variations on the same theme: “Zero Impunity,” “Ghostdance” and “Aimer Moins.” The masterclass will be available to stream throughout the festival, with a live Q&A hosted on June 22. “Zero Impunity,” a 2019 Contrechamp competition film, will also be available to stream in its entirety throughout the festival.

REEL FX 

U.S. independent production house Reel FX will give a preview look at Augusto Schillaci’s short “La Calesita,” about Argentina’s popular merry-go-round operators.

RON CLEMENTS AND JOHN MUSKER (Masterclass)

Legendary Disney directing partners Ron Clements and John Musker, directors of “Aladin,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Hercules” and many other studio classics, will host a masterclass on the 19.

YAKARI

Produced by Dargaud Media, Wunderwerk and Belvision, Xavier Giacometti and Toby Genkel’s “Yakari” will adapt the popular Franco-Belgian comic book series of the same name about it’s titular character, a young Sioux boy who follows the trail of a supernatural mustang. Bac Films will distribute in France, where it is scheduled to release on Aug. 19.

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Yakari Visuel