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Unifrance (corporate)

15 October 2020 à 15:22

French Animation on the International Scene no.1: Fall 2020

Editorial

After a very good year in 2019 for animation in festivals and cinemas, crowned by two Oscar nominations, 2020 has witnessed creditable performances from feature and short films, as well as virtual reality. More resistant to the effects of the public health crisis than live-action cinema, French animation has maintained its production rate and is on the threshold of a new phase in its growth and international exposure. Our animated films have played their full role in the recovery of the film industry, with three animated titles released over the summer claiming positions among the top 10 films at the French box office in the international market. The post-summer vacation season, although still unstable from a public health point of view, is a high-stakes period with the launch of the international careers of films selected in festivals at the beginning of the year. (...)

(...) With the creation in the spring of an “Animation” working group bringing together members of all our schools and an active presence alongside the French talent present at the Annecy Festival and the MIFA, UniFrance has chosen to strengthen its commitment to French animation. In early September, this was reflected by the selection of a director of animated films, Rémi Chayé, among the “10 To Watch” announced at TIFF, and the choices made by the jury of the UniFrance Short Film Awards in favor of several very fine animated films. New tools are still to be imagined with our members in the coming months, to serve the international career of their films and their creators.

This first newsletter aims to apprise all UniFrance members and its professional networks about the careers of our animation works abroad, in all their diversity. It will evolve in line with the latest news and events and with your needs, to best reflect French animation's position in the world. May you enjoy the report!

Daniela Elstner and Axel Scoffier,
Executive Director and Deputy Managing Director of UniFrance

 

INTERNATIONAL POST-SUMMER EVENTS 2020

General-interest international festivals, held in physical or hybrid versions after the summer break, take the pulse of French animation in all its diversity. The many specialized animation festivals have also adapted their programming, some focusing on short films (AnimaFest), others offering premieres of feature films (Namur, CinéKid, etc.).

General-interest festivals

 Three French animated films were selected at TIFF - 2020: the minority feature production Le Peuple Loup (Wolfwalkers) in the non-competitive "Special Events" section, along with Tie and Navozande, the Musician in the "Short Cuts" section.

Two French animated feature films were also programmed in the "Movies for Kids" section of the 68th edition of the San Sebastian International Film Festival: Playmobil: The Movie and Terra Willy.

The short A Lynx in the Town by Nina Bisiarina was presented at Filmfest Hamburg.

The Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (FIFF) is presenting a fine selection of no less than three feature (Petit Vampire by Joann Sfar, Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannary by Rémi Chayé, and Josep by Aurel), as well as eight short films: Northern Lights, Lupin, Deux oiseaux, La Vie de Château, And Yet We Are Not Super Heroes, Maraude and Murphy, Precious, and Earthworms.

 In terms of short films, 8 animated shorts were selected for the Trouville Off-Courts Film Festival. The festival was the occasion to announce the awards given by UniFrance to short films. The 18th edition of the UniFrance Short Film Awards shone a spotlight on animation: the Grand Prix went to Genius Loci by Adrien Mérigeau, while Souvenir Souvenir by Bastien Dubois won the Special Jury Prize Ex Aequo, and Empty Places by Geoffroy de Crécy claimed the Movistar + Prize. Last but not least, a distributor of animated films received the Distribution Prize: Luce GrosjeanMiyu Distribution.

Lastly, when it comes to virtual reality, the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival presented 6 French animated virtual reality works in "Venice VR" (the full selection can be found here), illustrating animation's importance to VR. The Hangman at Home - VR (Single User) (photo below), an international coproduction created by Michelle and Uri Kranot and produced by Floréal Films and Miyu Productions, received the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Immersive Work.

 

Animation festivals

Hiroshima International Animated Film Festival (August 20 - 24)
Considered one of the world's most respected animation festivals, the Hiroshima International Animated Film Festival held its latest edition online. Due to the particular context this year, only 59 films—from 32 countries—could be presented in competition and all the other sections were cancelled. Exceptionally, the titles in competition were only seen by members of the jury. Among them were 8 French works, including 2 coproductions, and the latter were among the titles awarded, each with a Special Prize from the international jury: Per tutta la vita by Roberto Catani (France/Italy), and Traces by Sophie Tavert Macian and Hugo Frassetto (France/Belgium)

Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 23 - October 4)
Because of the public health crisis due to Covid-19, the Ottawa International Animation Festival offered a fully online version this year. While no French feature film was selected for this edition, 5 short films were in competition, as well as a virtual reality work.

Animafest Zagreb (September 28 - October 3)
The festival announced a vast selection of French short films: 14 in the Films for Children Competition, 5 in the Student Film Competition, 7 in World Panorama, and 10 in the Grand Competition—Short Films. This brought the number of selected French short films (majority and minority included) to 36. No feature film was presented this year.

CINEKID (October 7 - 23)
The Dutch festival dedicated to young audiences returns this year in a hybrid version combining physical screenings and activities in several cities in the Netherlands, as well as an online platform. Several French productions are on the program. Calamity, une enfance de Martha Jane Cannary by Rémi Chayé will open the festival, SamSam by Tanguy De Kermel, and Marona's Fantastic Tale by Anca Damian will also be screened in cinemas and online. Shooom's Odyssey by Julien Bisaro (photo below) and The Kindergarten Show by Loïc Bruyère will represent France in the short film selection.

La Fête du cinéma d’animation  (October 14 - 31)
Coordinated by the
AFCA - Association Française du Cinéma d'Animation, the event will take place, as it does every year, simultaneously in hundreds of cities in France and in cultural networks abroad. Several Instituts Français will act as international relays of the event and will organize screenings and activities relating to animation. Florence Miailhe is the guest of honor of the 19th edition in anticipation of the release of her first feature film, La Traversée, slated for 2021.

Bucheon International Animation Festival (October 23 - 27)
 The latest film by Rémi Chayé, Calamity (Cristal for a Feature Film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival - 2020) will open this edition of the Bucheon International Animation Festival in South Korea. This title is the only French feature film in competition this year. However, 12 French shorts will share the bill in the international shorts competition. A graduation film and a French commissioned film are also in competition. The complete list of selected French works is available here. It is noteworthy that the festival is part of the Academy Awards qualifying festivals and thus opens the door to the Oscars for its award-winning films. Anca Damian, the winner of the Grand Prix 2019 with Marona's Fantastic Tale, has created the official festival trailer for the 2020 edition and will be a member of the Feature Film Competition jury. A parallel, non-competitive section, called "Hello! Annecy," has also been announced which will present a sample of works that were in competition at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this year and which, unfortunately, were deprived of the opportunity to be presented in the cinema as the festival took place exclusively online.

Dok Leipzig (October 26 - November 1)
This event combining documentary and animation has announced a hybrid physical—should public health rules allow—and online version at the end of October. Selections for the competitive sections and special programs will be announced during October (with the exception of the new "long animated films" category announced at the beginning of the year but recently postponed until 2021).

And also:

  • The 19th International Animation Film Festival Baden (Fantoche) took place in a hybrid version from September 1 through 6, 2020. This year, the children's jury awarded the Best Kids prize to Avec le do de la cuillère, an ESMA graduate film directed by Laurent Wassouf, Clément Crosnier, Edgard Cros, Theoline Chapas, Nolwenn Pétereau, Anouk Nedellec, and Lucas Ance.
  • The Cartoon Forum took place from September 14 through 17. This major coproduction and pitching market specializing in audiovisual animation programs took place exceptionally online this year because of the coronavirus. Dozens of projects, either in development or in production, were pitched with the help of pre-recorded videos that are accessible on the event's platform until October 15. This edition gives pride of place to French projects with 39 projects selected out of 80 in total. A dozen members of UniFrance presented projects at the event.
  • The Rencontres de Fontevraud (October 2 - 3). Created in 2012, and held at the Royal Abbey of Fonteraud (Maine-et-Loire), every year the Rencontres de Fontevraud "Les Chemins de la création" brings together, for two days in October,  professionals from all walks of life to exchange views and their experience on the writing of animated films. This year, encounters with Florence Miailhe, Patrick Imbert, Benoît Chieux, Pierre Földes, and Damien Brunner were scheduled. 
  • MIPCOM KIDS Entertainment Content market (MIP Junior) from October 12 through 16. This year, this event for creators of children's content will take place exclusively online.
  • The 17th edition of the Krok International Animated Film Festival has been cancelled.

ANIMATION FILMS AT THE INTERNATIONAL BOX OFFICE THIS SUMMER
 

Top 5 French animation films at the international box office (June, July, and August 2020)
# Film  No. of Admissions  Box Office Revenues Total Admissions Total Box Office Revenues
1 SamSam 96,982  €616,276 106,179 €703,896
2 Vic the Viking and the Magic Sword 88,117 €481,554 310,245 €1,234,998
3 Yakari, A Spectacular Journey 26,656 €265,170 26,656 €265,170
4 Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion 12,002 €77,937 3,650,194 €20,327,660
5 The Bears' Famous Invasion 6,475 €25,272 119,033 €673,164

 

With the gradual reopening of cinemas around the world, French animation appears to be stoking the performance of French films in foreign movie theaters. Collectively, all the French animation titles released over the period represented 250,000 admissions and €1.59 million in box office revenues. Animation films represented 6.6% of French films released over the period in terms of number of titles, accounting for 12% of admissions and 10.7% of revenues.

Poland occupied first place with 26.4% of foreign admissions for French animation films. This is not surprising since Poland sits in 5th place among the territories most fond of French animation over the last 5 years. More surprisingly, the two other leading territories over the period were Taïwan and Australia, which are both regions offering relatively few French animated productions as a rule.

The Top 3 titles are all recent films that have launched or relaunched their international careers after cinemas reopened their doors around the world. For example, Yakari, A Spectacular Journey, still screening in France, is just beginning its theatrical run with releases in Belgium and French-speaking Switzerland.

For some of these films, we can observe a resumption of their careers after the break caused by the shuttering of cinemas: SamSam (photo) was released in 10 territories after the lockdown, whereas it had already started its career in Norway, Sweden, and Singapore before Covid-19 struck. This is also the case of Vic the Viking and the Magic Sword, which had already started its career in March with releases in 11 different territories and has continued its career in some territories since the end of April: in The Netherlands, Lithuania, Poland, and Taiwan.

Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, released in February 2018 in France, continued its (very) long run abroad. It recorded most of its new admissions thanks to a theatrical release at the end of August in Taiwan by Garage Play (more than 9,000 admissions among the 12,000 recorded for this title during the period).

Lastly, The Bears' Famous Invasion (photo below) continued its international career, already well underway before the lockdown, with three releases in Italy, Spain, and French-speaking Switzerland, as well as a release in Lithuania in June and a release in Hungary in July which garnered more than 4,000 admissions (7th best performance for this film abroad).

Over the period, 13 other French animation titles were released abroad for a total of 19,800 admissions in 10 territories. For most of these titles (8 out of 13), these admissions were generated after the reopening of the theaters from June onward.

 

POST-SUMMER AND FALL RELEASES

VOD CHART

VOD releases (June, July, and August 2020)
Film Platform Country Month added  
White Fang Viaplay Estonia/ Latvia/ Lituania June 2020
The Swallows of Kabul Movistar+ Spain June 2020
Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion Netflix Poland June 2020
Dilili in Paris Watchaplay South Korea July 2020
Funan Netflix USA July 2020
Astérix: The Secret of the Magic Potion Lightbox New Zealand July  2020
The Swallows of Kabul HBO Poland/ Romania/ Czech Republic July 2020
Playmobil: The Movie Starzplay USA August 2020
The Bears' Famous Invasion Catchplay Taiwan August 2020
Playmobil: The Movie Catchplay Taiwan August 2020
SamSam Friday Taiwan August 2020
SamSam Myvideo Taiwan August 2020

The data in the chart and those that follow were extracted from the Ampere Analysis database, which tracks the catalogs of 73 SVOD platforms in 48 territories.

 
Between June and August 2020, 173 recent French films were released on SVOD platforms.  Among them were 8 animated films which sometimes benefited from several releases in different territories or platforms. They represent 4.6% of the French films added to a SVOD platform over the period.*


*The figures given here correspond to only a small sample: new releases of recent French films over three months. To have a more precise and representative idea of the presence of French animation films in VOD, we advise you to refer to the annual SVOD indicator published by us. The SVOD 2019 indicator is available here. The SVOD 2020 indicator will be available soon.

Listes complètes des sélections françaises

Author : Carla Negre

Latest update : 16 October 2020 à 15:22 CEST

Linked to this news article

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AFCA - Association Française du Cinéma d'Animation

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Animafest Zagreb - 2020

Type : Short film festival

Theme : Animation

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Annecy International Animation Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : Animation

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BIAF - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : Animation

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CINEKID - 2020

Type : Feature film festival

Theme : Films for children and youth

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FIFF - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : French-language

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Filmfest Hamburg - Hamburg International Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film festival

Theme : All films

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Hiroshima International Animated Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : Animation

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Krok International Animated Film Festival - 2020

Type : Short film festival

Theme : Animation

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Leipzig - International Documentary and Animated Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : International festival

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Ottawa International Animation Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

Theme : Animation

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Prix UniFrance du court-métrage - 2020

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Theme : All films

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San Sebastian International Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film festival

Theme : All films

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TIFF - 2020

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Theme : All films

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Trouville Off-Courts Film Festival - 2020

Type : Short film festival

Theme : International festival

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Venice International Film Festival - 2020

Type : Feature film and short film festival

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Geographic areas (9)