Read through the history of the Annecy Festival, from its beginnings in the 1960s with the Jica and Asifa; the creation of Cica; the economic dimension of the event and the arrival of the International Animation Film Market (Mifa) in the 80s; the Festival's flourishing years in the 2000s and the creation of CITIA; to reach its 50 years of existence as a mature festival in 2010, while the Mifa celebrates it's 30th birthday in 2015.
The 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival will be etched in its annals, reminding everyone of the importance and essential essence of animation film: a time for sharing, transmission and conviviality. The extraordinary growth of the Festival and the Mifa is testimony to this staggering success.
7 full days were devoted to animation film hosting 15,820 accredited attendees from 102 countries, a 19% increase on the previous edition. Every evening, 4,000 to 8,000 viewers attended the open-air screenings on Le Pâquier! Movie buffs were able to enjoy 350 screenings, not counting all the film-related events (Works in Progress, Making of, Masterclasses, Signing Sessions, Exhibitions and more).
At the Mifa, 6,410 accredited attendees perused the lakeside aisles, enjoying the many events, conferences and professional networking opportunities. Le Campus, a new area specially for students and emerging talents, also proved a huge success with no less than 3,575 accredited students.
Throughout the week, the Festival celebrated Mexico as it placed Mexican animation in the limelight. In the Festival’s Official Selection in competition Mexico was represented through 7 films across various categories and 88 short films were screened in the Special Programmes. The Mexican professionals and artists’ enthusiasm created tremendous impetus to the event in addition to this year’s "Animation, Pride and Diversity" theme.
This year, the Festival’s trademark partners trailer was created by the Studio La Cachette. It pays tribute to the city of Annecy and its Festival by featuring characters from its universe throughout a Festivalgoer’s typical day.
Lastly, the legendary Jorge R. Gutierrez, our 2023 official poster designer and jury member, and patron of this year’s Mifa Campus where he inspired thousands of young talents and future animation professionals.
In 2022 an unusual happening took place on Sunday 12th June. The Pâquier was rapidly bedecked with its star-studded gown for an early opening of the Annecy Festival, with the screening of the film The Bad Guys. So the stage was set!
The promised fireworks morphed into a burst of screenings and meet-ups where ideas and debates continually flared, creating that animated hubbub which, every June, sets the heart of Annecy aflame.
For 6 days swarms of animated movie lovers could convene at the Pâquier, at the Parc des Vignières Pommaries, or else at the esplanade of the Musée-Château d’Annecy to enjoy the 18 Open-air Screenings, both day and night. The 11 screening theatres also joined the festivities, totalling nearly 115,000 admissions overall.
The 2022 Annecy Festival tallied: 13,248 accredited badge-holders hailing from 106 countries (of whom 11,800 non-locals); over 300 screenings; 50,000 attendees at the Open-air Screenings; and 165 events and professional meetings.
Nearly 3,000 companies participated in the International Animation Film Market or Mifa, and floor space of 6,000m² was given over to stands, welcoming 800 exhibitors and 4,000 professionals.
This year, Swiss animation enjoyed place of honour with 13 films selected in official competition plus three retrospectives, dedicated to Claude Barras, Marcel Barelli and Isabelle Favez. A special Swiss roster illustrated the abundance and diversity of this effervescent animation. From brothers Sam and Fred Guillaume (Max & Co) to Claude Barras (My Life as a Zucchini), as well as Isabelle Favez (Apple Pie), Marina Rosset (The Bear’s Hand), Michaela Müller (Miramare), Michael Frei (Plug & Play) and not forgetting Claude Luyet, Marcel Barelli, Claudius Gentinetta, Anja Kofmel, Zoltán Horváth or Maja Gehrig, Swiss animation’s lodestar sparkled throughout the entire week.
In addition, it was the Swiss Nadasdy Film studio which was chosen to design the Festival’s trailer, to start off every screening.
Last of all, Mifa Campus participants had the honour of being sponsored, inspired and encouraged by Masaaki Yuasa, or "animation’s most psychedelic mind" as dubbed by Anime Limited, distributor of many of his works in France and the UK. Icing on the cake: during a Screening Event, the director presented his latest movie, INU-OH.
After a year online, the Festival continued to reinvent itself by offering an unprecedented format adapted to the pandemic situation. This hybrid format rose to the challenge of creating both a physical and virtual event to bring all animation enthusiasts and professionals together.
A "battle", as its CEO Mickaël Marin described this edition, that brought together almost 8,500 badgeholders on-site for half of them or online. Despite the continuing unstable health situation, professionals from 96 countries and the local public could finally celebrate this eagerly-awaited 60th anniversary, which was postponed from last year.
In total, there were more than 2,700 films submitted to participate in the Official Competition, 85 online Mifa events and 74 Festival events were organised, 240 on-site screenings and more than 12,897 hours were viewed by our badgeholders.
A year that was also highlighted by African animation celebrations as part of the Africa2020 Season. Among others, Annecy was able to welcome the writer and professor Mohamed Ghazala, as well as the artist Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya as jury members. The Festival offered numerous themed content associated to the continent, and the Mifa also gave African pride of place to illustrate the richness and diversity of the territory.
The Annecy International Animation Film Market counted the presence of 2,336 badgeholders including 325 buyers, distributers and investors. The Mifa Campus had the honour of having the writer, scriptwriter and director Marguerite Abouet as its patron, meanwhile the Mifa Animation Industry Award was presented to the African studio Triggerfish Animation Studios.
The general public could gather together and share some fun and good cheer once again thanks to the Village du Festival that was set up at the heart of the Haras. The XploR Zone dedicated to virtual reality, exhibitions and open-air screenings laid out a rich week for the local Annecy people.
In full throes of the Covid-19 pandemic the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and its Mifa organisers resigned as early as April to cancel the Festival in its usual physical format. However, in order to support animation professionals and satisfy movie-buffs and the general public a digital version was conceived and developed in two months.
2020 will remain an historic edition with its virtual launch on 15th June of the Annecy Online and Mifa Online. Over a period of 15 days the 15,570 badgeholders (a record), from 111 countries, were able to access innovative and adapted formats, content and tools, to be able to discover the 2020 Official Selection, but also to continue their professional activities and discussions concerning the animation sector, all this online.
In the end more than 3,000 films were submitted to take part in the official competition, 40 Mifa events and 30 Festival events were organised, with over 27 hours live and 451 videos available, or 80 hours of unique content made available on the Annecy Online platform.
The Mifa Online received 4,130 badgeholders to view 1,120 works in the media library and 2,074 virtual stands to discover and be able to participate in discussions with professionals from the sector using the range of tools on the Annecy Network, where over 37,000 messages were sent.
To watch the highlights of this unique 2020 online edition again, check out the Annecy Live.
Find plenty of videos on the Annecy Festival YouTube channel.
For even more information check out the Annecy Online 2020 archives.
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival continues to beat records with 12,300 badgeholders registered in 2019, coming from 92 countries and 3,139 films competition entries.
This edition rewarded the Honorary Cristal to Jean-François Laguionie. There were also two new competitive categories created: a feature film section, Contrechamp, that explores the new forms of animation and for the first time the VR Works became competitive with an award and jury panel dedicated especially to them.
XR@Annecy were integrated throughout the event, in the Mifa and the Meetings. The General Public also experienced it first-hand in the centre of the VR Dome that had open access.
Over 12 years the Annecy International Film Market continues to grow with a surface area expanded to 8,000m² , 4143 badgeholders and 1,881 companies. For the first time a woman was patron of the Mifa Campus, Nora Twomey, and Marc du Pontavice received the Mifa Animation Industry Award.
Lastly, Japanese animation was in the spotlight this year, with the presence of Yôichi Kotabe, our guest of honor, previews, legendary films, an exhibition, delegation, stand and a Japanese inspired poster by Charlotte Gastaut.
To relive the highlights of this last edition, visit the Annecy Live
Check out the images in the Flickr album or on the YouTube channel.
And for even more information, browse through the Annecy 2019 archives.
The 2018 edition of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival beat all the records. There were 11,700 badgeholders, 3,086 films were submitted to the selection committee and 93 countries were represented.
The homage to Brazilian animation, coupled with a theme devoted to “Music and animation film” gave rhythm and colour to the event. Brazil was represented at the Mifa by a delegation of 54 companies with a 45m² stand. Exhibitions, special screenings, concert films, musical performances, jury members, Territory Focus, Sound Creation Workshops and Masterclasses all punctuated the week putting these themes in the spotlight.
The Mifa also beat all records this year, with an even larger surface area of 7,231m², 3800 badgeholders, 827 exhibitors, 75 countries represented and 468 projects submitted for the Mifa Pitches. New mediums were used to reinforce market propositions: Market Screenings, Shoot the Book Anim’, Demo Sessions, Meet the Composers… And to round up, the Mifa Animation Industry Award was awarded for the first time to an organisation, the Women in Animation (WIA) association, confirming Annecy’s commitment for equality at the heart of organisations.
The entire day-by-day edition can be found on Annecy Live.
To relive the edition in pictures, go to the Flickr gallery or to the YouTube channel.
For even more information, you can surf the Annecy 2018 Archives.
This year the Festival reached a huge milestone, 10,000 accreditations! Also, the number of films submitted continues to increase, with 230 films officially selected out of the 2850 registered.
China, our guest country for this edition was showcased throughout the event. Representing the country’s flag were 130 delegates covering 183m² of the Mifa pavilion. There were special programmes dedicated to Chinese animation, an exquisite exhibition China, Art in Motion, a performance that was produced by Sun Xun, and more.
Mifa continues to expand in all directions, with a surface area that reached 6000m², 9% more accreditations, 200 extra companies and an increase of 16% in the number of purchasers, distributors and investors. This year a full day was devoted to students, the Mifa Campus, with Guillermo del Toro as their mentor. It was a duo of distributors who won the Mifa & Variety's Animation Personality of the Year Award: Marc Bonny from Gebeka Films and Eric Beckman from GKIDS.
Once again the Annecy Festival has broken its record this year, passing the mark of 9,150 accredited festival-goers, 2,700 films in the running for the official selection, and 400 projects vying for participation in the Mifa pitch sessions. Equally, myriads of special programs revolved around the three specially-featured themes: French animation, advertising animation and the year honoring France/Korea.
This year’s edition included a host of key figures from the animation world, numerous outstanding film previews to the delight of crowds, as well as new formats for the Rencontres and the Work in Progress sessions for TV series, already an acclaimed public success.
As for awards, this year’s Honorary Cristal was bestowed on famed producer Didier Brunner, while the Mifa & Variety’s Animation Personality of the Year Award was conferred to Peter Lord and David Sproxton, co-founders of Aardman Animations studio.
The Mifa, having feted its 30th anniversary in 2015, continued to confirm its strategic positioning as the top International Animation Film Market. Proof of this: the visit by François Hollande, President of France, and Audrey Azoulay, French Minister of Culture and Communication.
Annecy 2015 was a record breaking year right across the board: the number of accreditations, countries represented, sneak previews and films received. The event also welcomed many personalities from the world of animation. Women in Animation and Spain, the two topics in the limelight this year, were equally well received. The ladies were generally well represented, with Florence Miailhe receiving an Honorary Cristal and Regina Pessoa creating the official poster.
Some of the biggest animation studios visited the Mifa, who was also celebrating its 30th anniversary. This was the perfect occasion to launch the Mifa & Variety’s Animation Personaliy of the year award, presented to one of the industry's most illustrious figures, Chris Meledandri.
Other new formats were also set in motion for 2015: the Studio Focus sessions, enabling studios to reveal their latest work; the Keynote speeches, for big names in animation like Chris Meledandri and Genndy Tartakovsky to share their knowledge and experience; the Animation du Monde Pitches, to spotlight emerging countries in animation production and the Students' Snack Time, to give the floor to some of the youngest filmmakers.
Stop motion animation was in the limelight this year with many special programmes devoted to the technique, conferences and exhibitions as well as the Festival poster created by Franck Dion. Annecy was honoured to welcome Isao Takahata, who also received an Honorary Cristal Award.
New for 2014 was the creation of a short film competitive category, Animation Off-Limits, and part of the programme available online at MyHomeFestival.
The Conferences were able to find their relative public after being redesigned, expanded and divided into the three categories of Creation, Business and Production Organisation.
There was also a sharp increase of exhibiting companies at the Mifa, along with American majors including Nickelodeon, Disney, Pixar and Cartoon Network. Next year the Market will be celebrating its 30th birthday, presenting the perfect occasion to celebrate the evolution of the animation industry and its future.
The 2013 Festival was full of remarkable events such as Poland as the guest country, a Special Cristal Award for Jerzy Kucia's career, Calimero's 50th birthday, many sneak previews and screening events. The public voted for films via the election of the funniest film and the Audience Award and, above all, the event was marked by the style of Marcel Jean, the new Artistic Director.
Aurélie Filippetti, the Minister of Culture, visited the Mifa which unveiled new meetings such as the Mifa Talks and the Share With sessions.
New studios like Illumination Mac Guff, Laika or Method Animation were also able to appreciate the recruitment sessions at the Creative Focus.
Figures: 7,100 delegates with accreditation including 2,400 from the Mifa.
Ireland was the guest country for 2012 with a rich and varied programme, including a number of sneak previews such as Patrice Leconte's The Suicide Shop and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
Mifa's new events and spaces (Territory Focus, Mifa screening, Demo Room...) provided more visibility for visiting companies and countries and encouraged networking possibilities throughout the week.
25 projects were presented at the Creative Focus. There was also a focus on African animation and 19 recruitment sessions.
Over 900 people followed the conferences.
An animated week rich in events and surprises!
A spotlight on independent American animation was one of the main highlights of the Annecy 2011 programme.
Mifa: programme overview, Ankama’s 10th birthday, SFPA, UniFrance and Canal+ Family press conferences.
VIPs, the Festival was proud to welcome Leiji Matsumoto!
The Minister for Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand also attended the Festival and presented the Annecy 2011 YouTube award at the special Disney.
15 full-time staff on the organising team
A team of 15 full-time staff was put in place, supervised by Tiziana Loschi, with Dominique Puthod as President, and following the death of Jean-Luc Xiberras, Serge Bromberg took over the position of Festival Artistic Director in 1999, creating a collective organisation to develop the event as a whole.
Roy Disney for the 40th anniversary
Serge Bromberg invited Roy Disney to be honorary president for the 40th birthday edition of the Festival. This symbolic gesture proved that Annecy had reached maturity and the event should no longer be conceived and perceived as an alternative to American animation but as a melting pot for all animation. It was from here on in that Annecy was able to develop with confidence in relation to the majors.
More and more premieres
During the 2000s, sneak preview screenings increased significantly bringing about greater media coverage of the event. France and Europe also began making more and more animated features, providing an easier editorial balance in the presentation of film events.
Creation of CITIA, city of moving images
In 2006, the fusion of the two associations, Cica and Pumma, gave rise to l'établissement public de coopération culturelle (EPCC – Public Institution for Cultural Cooperation), CITIA. Patrick Eveno took over the management after being recruited to work on a project based on "moving images" and focusing on three complementary areas: culture, education and economy. From that time on, thirty people would work year round at CITIA, on the organisation of the Festival, the Mifa and other activities.
A mature Festival
In 2008, the Festival experienced an increase in its main figures: 6,700 accredited delegates equal to a 10 % rise in attendance, 1,867 films submitted, 284 chosen for the official selection, 300 attending journalists, 20 % additional exhibition space at the Mifa, making an area of 3,000 m² in all and over 1,100 companies registered. The following year the Festival was showing an impact both globally and through its involvement on a local and regional level.
The 2010s: 50 years of unwavering commitment!
The 34th Festival also celebrated its 50th birthday in 2010. Over 50 high-profile guests made the trip to Annecy to celebrate this anniversary which was widely covered internationally.
A 5-DVD collection and a book, Creatures and Creators, containing drawings by major artists from the world of animation, was specially created for the occasion.
The American studios arrive
From 1985, American studios were increasingly more visible at the event and proof that the changes of 1983 were bearing fruit. That year the public were treated to a programme of 9 Oscar-winning films made at the Disney studios, followed in 1987, by a tribute to Warner Bros. and in 1989, the visit of a large Disney delegation.
Growth in figures
Between 1983 and 1997, the event experienced a double-digit growth with the number of participants going from 900 in 1983 to 4,300 in 1997 and the number of films received from 386 to 1,271. All this was due to a favourable context, the shortening of production deadlines, the expansion policy of the event and the creation of the film Market. These factors also led to a significant increase in media coverage with over 250 journalists attending the event at the end of the 90s.
Evolution in the public
Up to 1981, the visiting public were mainly made up of members of the film club and professionals from the artistic side of the business. From 1983, the success of the event, along with the evolution of the sector, led to a rise in the number of visiting professionals from both the cultural and economic sides of the industry. In 1993, the Cica set up a giant screen outside on the Pâquier lawn for the first time so that the local general public could see the films and have a real contact with the Festival.
In September 1997, the Board of Directors voted for the annualisation of the event for several reasons: an increase in production, difficulties in selection, rejection of too many films, competition from other events, the need for an annual market and a full-time organising team. Thanks to this decision, Annecy was able to consolidate its position as the leading international competitive festival devoted to animation.
The break of 1982
In 1981, the arrival of a new government that was interested in a decentralisation policy made it possible for Annecy to take over the event. The CNC was ready to support this move and ASIFA, under pressure from international filmmakers, also wanted to see changes in the Festival and its film selection process. Talks duly began between the CNC, Senator Charles Bosson (founding President of the Festival) and Jica President Pierre Jacquier. In the end, it was decided not to renew the director's contract, to transfer the administration from Paris to Annecy and set up an international selection committee.
A new ambition
In July 1982, Jean-Luc Xiberras was hired to develop these new policies and reconnect with the animation profession that had become divided after the demise of the event's director. The Annecy film club was also keeping its distance and supported Raymond Maillet, who wanted to create another festival. The Festival of 1983 was organised in this somewhat controversial climate and took place in the newly constructed cultural centre of Bonlieu. The existence of several theatres now made simultaneous screenings possible, in varied formats and on different media, which was unthinkable in the old casino-theatre. The first ideas for a film market were getting off the ground and thematic conferences were also organised. By opening up to all the aspects of animation, cultures and techniques, Annecy 1983 proved to be a real success.
New formats for the competition
In 1984, Marie-Noëlle Provent took over from Pierre Jacquier at the head of the Jica. The organising association became the Centre international du cinéma d’animation – Cica (the International Animated Film Centre) and adopted a new status aiming to expand activities related to animation and promote local roots of the event. From then on, decisions were taken bearing in mind the developments of animation and the audiovisual sector. After commissioned films were included in the competition in 1983, a competitive category was also set up for TV films in 1985.
Creation of a film market
The Minister for Culture, Jack Lang, was appointed in 1981 and gave a real opportunity for the event to develop by promoting "new images" and setting up an "Image Plan". On the strength of this, the first International Animation Film Market (Mifa) was co-organised by Cica and the Octet agency in 1985. Jack Lang remarked that this market "responds to the need to now consider the development of this sector as a whole and particularly in its economic aspects". For Cica, the market gave films presented in the official selection a better chance of finding a distributor. Government policies set up in the 80s were able to create a favourable environment for French animation and the emergence of a national economy.
Jica is back
Thanks to the commitment of the Senator and Mayor of Annecy Charles Bosson, film directors and the film club, the Festival was able to make its return. Raymond Maillet, the right-hand man of Pierre Barbin, and a great animation fan with exceptional knowledge about the films and filmmakers, took over the reins of the Jica, and attendance from professionals and the viewing public increased up to 1975. During this period, the heritage aspect was particularly highlighted with regular exhibitions at the Musée-Château. But this attendance curve was reversed in 1977, due, of course to the emergence of new events, but also to growing disputes between Annecy, the administrative offices in Paris and film directors.
An active film club
The existence of an active film club in Savoie, combined with its leading members being in close contact with the team at the Journées du cinéma event, made it a lot easier to set up the Journées internationales du cinéma d’animation (Jica) in Annecy, with Pierre Barbin as Executive Director and André Martin and Michel Boschet, Assistant Officers of the event.
In 1956, the heads of the film club, Henry Moret and Georges Gondran, were at Cannes to take part in the first Jica held in conjunction with the main festival. From the meeting of these two teams, the seeds of an idea were sewn to set up a festival devoted to animation in Annecy. With its proximity to Geneva and airport, the presence of a theatre and a receptive audience due to the work of the film club, the town presented many advantages and in 1959, the town council voted to host the event.
A competitive Festival
In 1960, Annecy held the 3rd Jica and the Festival became competitive. Meanwhile, the foundations of an international animation film association (Asifa) were being laid and the concept of animation gradually institutionalised. In 1963, to counter competition, the Festival moved to odd years. The following year, an agreement was concluded with ASIFA confirming the biennial nature of the Annecy Festival, and gradually the codes of a major event were put in place with a strict selection process, tributes, retrospectives, publications, exhibitions, special guests and the presence of 25 delegations from abroad.
A year without a festival
At the beginning of 1968, the appointment of Pierre Barbin as artistic director of the Cinémathèque française, replacing Henri Langlois, followed by his resignation in April, triggered a major national situation. The following year, the Festival did not take place as the CNC were not in a position to give financial support. The State became involved, through the Minister for Cultural Affairs, André Malraux, who proposed to abandon the event.