Already the biggest animation event in the world, France’s Annecy Festival is about to grow larger, adding another day to its schedule in order to run a full week in 2023.
The expansion sees the festival’s opening day brought forward to Sunday June 11 with the Annecy Festival running through to Saturday June 17.
Traditionally, the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival has opened on a Monday, staging its opening ceremony and movie on a Monday evening. The ceremony will now still take place at the lakeside Bonlieu Grand Salle. Some screenings will be added on the Sunday afternoon.
Annecy’s International Animation Film Market (MIFA) keeps its four day Tuesday-Friday length, unspooling over June 13-16 next year.
The move comes after massive growth at Annecy in terms of attendance, up to a total best-ever 13,248 attendees, including MIFA 4,300 delegates, in 2022. That reflected global animation’s dramatic expansion at large, which has also resulted in a huge demand to recruit talent from streamers and global studios alike.
Annecy channels part of that recruitment drive. Highly structured, the festival had also added ever more events to cater for overflowing festival and market attendees and a business presence running from global streaming services to world animation, as well as press conferences and screening events, including shorts.
Such is the crush that 2022’s festival saw up to 20 events overlapping in the early afternoon of June 15, including major showcases from Netflix, Disney Television and Warner Bros. Animation, Cartoon Network Studios and Hanna Barbera Studios Europe. Studios were already beginning to stage their own events pre-Festival on the Sunday eve.
“Each year the number of festival goers is higher, the content is increasingly varied and comes from all walks of life, so in consequence we find ourselves too restricted by the festival’s historical format,” said Mikaël Marin, CEO of festival organiser Citia.
“Bringing the opening day forward should enable us to improve everyone’s experience and put the opening ceremony in the spotlight to increase its prestige in the week’s overall programming,” he added.
For Annecy artistic director Marcel Jean, “In recent years, the programming has become increasingly dense. By moving the opening ceremony to Sunday, we are re-establishing the agenda so that Monday becomes a fully-fledged festival day.”
“Also, a few screenings will enable festivalgoers to begin discovering the program on Sunday,” Jean went on. “Quality and diversity have already made the cut, both with the major and independent studios alike.”
MIFA will also expand, with its training and recruitment strand, MIFA Campus, to date a one -day event, now taking place Tuesday to Friday like the rest of MIFA. It will also be allotted its own dedicated physical space, Le Campus.
One undoubted highlight will be a focus on Mexico as Annecy’s country of honour, an event anticipated by Guillermo del Toro in inimitable style and re-confirmed Tuesday by the Annecy Festival.
Del Toro has become one of the driving forces of Mexican animation, co-backing El Taller del Chucho, a stop-motion animation studio located in his native Guadalajara which animated part of “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.”
Guadalajara and Mexico’s animation base is far broader, however, with the former setting to become a national and international animation hub in not only stop motion but 2D and 3D as well.