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The Big Sleep

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The Big Sleep pays tribute to filmmakers who have passed away over the past year: David Anderson, Eduard Nazarov, George Geertsen, Sarah Mallinson

David Anderson

Dive into the world of British filmmaker David Anderson, who marked his career with some audacious creativity.

Catching public attention with Dreamland Express in 1982, British filmmaker David Anderson was born in London in 1952, and was known and recognised for his unique style. The short Dreamland Express, a 14-minute adaptation of H.R. Millar’s 1927 novel, was rewarded with a BAFTA for its boldness and opened the door for the filmmaker’s modern and unconventional style demonstrating a technical inventiveness that went on to define the rest of his career. As a nonconformist, Anderson thought nothing of rewriting the end of Millar’s tale. While the young hero returns safely to his bed in the book, he kept him in a troublesome dreamscape, favouring a more tormented vision of the world.

More praise followed when he received the Hiroshima Peace Prize for Dreamless Sleep (1986), a film that addresses the individual anxiety that plagued the nuclear age. The rest of Anderson’s career continued to feature his remarkable audacity and creativity, whether in ads for Mastercard or Eurostar, and personal projects like Deadsy (1989) or Door (1990), the filmmaker was constantly innovating, creating surprise and wonder through his rich and impressive atmospheres.

In 1994, he finished the animated sequence In the Time of Angels and then followed his passion for movement by exploring the dance scene (Motion Control, 2002, A Sense of Gravity, 2003). He made his last film, Tongue for the Hidden, in 2008, which was an invitation to discover Persian culture.

David Anderson was a Festival regular and received the Fipresci International Film Critics' Award in 1991. To honour his career, Annecy invites you to take a trip into the unique world of this British filmmaker who left us in 2015.


Eduard Nazarov

The Big Sleep invites you to get away from it all by entering the satirical and poetic world of Russian filmmaker Eduard Nazarov.

Born in Moscow in 1941, Eduard Nazarov started out in animation in 1959 at the illustrious Soyuz Multifilm studio. Forming an alliance with director and animator Fiodor Khitrouk, he worked on several of his projects, including Winnie the Pooh (1969-1972), before making a name for himself with his own. These shorts include Hunt (1979), awarded at festivals in Kiev, Huesco and Espinho and Travels of an Ant (1983), winner at Zagreb. However, his most significant film was undoubtedly Once Upon a Time There was a Dog (1982), an adaptation of a Ukranian fairytale that garnered him a Special Jury Prize at Annecy.

Characterised by poetic beauty and witty humour, these classics appealed to both children and adults, yet behind their apparent simplicity careful attention was payed to detail and sound. This multifaceted artist later held several roles in the production of animated shorts and TV series such as auteur, screenwriter or artistic director and even voice actor for a long list of characters.

In 1993, he co-founded the Shar animation studio-school with Andreï Khrjanovski, Fiodor Khitrouk and Iouri Norstein, and also taught there. As an accomplishment to his career, he was awarded a People’s Artist of Russia medal in 2012, and held the positions of Vice President at the International Animated Film Association and Co-President of the Krok Festival. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 75.

This year, the Big Sleep is paying tribute to this master of Russian tradition.


George Geertsen

An homage to the pioneer of documentary animation, George Geertsen, who passed away this January.

A pioneer of documentary animation, George Geertsen was a Danish-Canadian filmmaker who studied drawing and painting at the Ontario School of Arts and gained fame for his strikingly remarkable films, such as The Men in the Park (1972) and Prison (1975). Based on putting a series of sketches in motion that depict moments in contemporary life (an urban park for The Men in the Park and a penitentiary centre for Prison), his work reflects a sensitive and accurate style that’s characterised by a crude and extremely simplified realism.

In Journey Through Time: The Human Story (1984), the filmmaker brilliantly rose to the challenge of summarising all the complexity of tracing the episodes of prehistory by using metamorphoses and visual shortcuts. Although he was very fond of realism, in an effort to add a bit of humour to his work, Geertsen made Diploma Dilemma in 1987, a film about job perspectives for fresh graduates.

Today, his most renowned film is considered an NFB classic, La Bastringue Madame Bolduc (1992), a whimsical and vivacious animation that pays tribute to the song by the Quebec singer La Bolduc. A few years later, in 1996, Geertsen made the instructional film Words, which stands out for its beautiful colours that starkly contrasts with the raw realism found in his early work. The filmmaker dabbled a bit in stereoscopic animation for the short vignette called Canada 3D before passing away in January 2017.

As a tribute to his recent death, the Festival invites you to discover or rediscover this filmmaker during The Big Sleep.


Sarah Mallinson

Come and explore the colourful and creative world of British-born Sarah Mallinson, an image virtuoso and Peter Földes muse.

Muse and associate to the famous British filmmaker and artist Peter Földes, Sarah Mallinson made her animation debut in 1964. With her mentor by her side, she worked on several short and feature films, advertisements and comics. In 1981, she directed Play Black as a homage to Földes’ workshop where all of his creations came into existence.

Sarah found endless sources of inspiration with objects, drawings and tools that gave her hope for an eternal life and the artist strived to bring them to life through stop-motion and film. She also used some of Peter Földes’ drawings to keep his memory alive after he left this world far too soon.

With the company that she founded in Paris and London, Sarah Mallinson produced and worked on hundreds of productions, including the L’Opéra imaginaire collection, an animation masterpiece that was nominated for the Anny Awards in 1995 and 1996.

Moved by a true love of images in all their forms (computer-generated, real or drawn), Sarah brilliantly mastered mixing techniques, set-making and even editing. This allowed her to shine in a wide variety of genres: music videos, advertisements, for science, art or design, from amusement parks to folk legends!

An accomplished woman and artist, Sarah made a lasting impression on people. Her friend, filmmaker Monique Renault states: "Sarah was the personification of beauty. Not only physical beauty of course, but also interior beauty, and, on top of that, she was a loyal friend and colleague. The film world corresponded perfectly with her disposition: inspiring, dreamy and a warrior… Beauty itself."

Recently passed, this talented animator will be honoured in the Big Sleep special programme.


  • Dreamland Express

    United Kingdom - David Alexander ANDERSON

  • Door

    United Kingdom - David Alexander ANDERSON

  • Once Upon a Time There Lived a Dog

    Russia - Edward NAZAROV

  • Hunt

    Russia - Edward NAZAROV

  • La Bastringue Madame Bolduc

    Canada - George GEERTSEN

  • Words

    Canada - George GEERTSEN

  • Play Back

    France - Sarah MALLINSON

  • Ma vache Noiraude "23. La naissance"

    France - Gilles GAY

  • Mahjong

    China - Xi CHEN, Xu AN

  • Ma vache Noiraude "28. Le Pot-au-Feu"

    France - Gilles GAY