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Festivals & events

29 July 2021 à 16:45

French animation on the international scene No. 4: Summer 2021

Editorial

With the hybrid edition of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the first French festival to include a physical component since the beginning of the pandemic, French animation was widely acclaimed with 49 competitive selections and more than 15 awards or special mentions. This is a great recovery for French professionals, which shows the central place of French animation in the world and in the revival of cinema in general.

We look forward with confidence to the post-summer vacation period, which will be conducive to the influence of French animation in animation festivals such as  Animation Is Film, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and BIAF. UniFrance's teams will pay close attention to the French presence at these events in order to provide the best possible support to professionals in the sector.

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

Illustration: The Summit of the Gods by Patrick Imbert (©Julianne Films-Folivari-Mélusine Productions-France 3 Cinéma-AuRA Cinéma)

French animation at international film festivals

Since April 2021, several French animated films (majority and minority productions) have received selections and, for some, awards at prestigious international film festivals. For example, Aurel's fine Josep was chosen as the closing film of the Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea, and the already multi-awarded Marona's Fantastic Tale by Anca Damian was voted Best European Children's Film 2021 by the European Children Films Association.

Marona's Fantastic TaleMarona's Fantastic Tale

Among the French works presented at the Tribeca Film Festival , accredited festival-goers had access to six animated VR works as well as a French animated short film,
Navozande, the Musician by Réza Riàhi which received  the Best Short Film Award

Two French animated documentaries featured in the Visions du réel documentary festival in Switzerland: fleuryfontaine's short film Constrain was in the Opening Scenes competition,  Jonas Poher Rasmussen's feature Flee was selected for the Grand Angle section where it won the Audience Prize.

ConstrainConstrain

French animation was in the spotlight at the 2021 edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival as three feature films and one animated short were presented in the non-competitive SIFF Animation program: Wolfwalkers, Brendan and the Secret of Kells, Yakari, A Spectacular Journey, as well as the short A Tiny Tale.

Two French works were also in competition at this 24th edition of the festival: the short Sweet Madness, Hard Madness by Marine Laclotte featured in the Golden Goblet Awards Competition (Animated Short Films) and the beautiful stop-motion feature Even Mice Belong in Heaven by Denisa Grimmová & Jan Bubenicek won the Golden Goblet Award for Best Animation Feature.

The 74th edition of the Festival de Cannes hosted two world premieres of French animated features in non-competitive sections: Where Is Anne Frank by Ari Folman was presented Out of Competition and The Summit of the Gods by Patrick Imbert was among the films presented at the Cinéma de la Plage. We also note the presence of the animated French short film Anxious Body at  Directors' Fortnight

 

Exceptionally, this newsletter mentions a live-action film, which also had a world premiere in the Cannes Classics section: the documentary Satoshi Kon: l’illusionniste by French director Pascal-Alex Vincent, which deals with the life and work of Satoshi Kon, the illustrious Japanese animation director who died 10 years ago.

In terms of awards, the Best Interactive Experience Award in the Cannes XR section went to The Hangman at Home - VR by Michelle Kranot & Uri Kranot.

HoracioHoracioUniFrance also presented its 19th Short Film Awards in Cannes on July 13. Among the winning films were two animated titles: Horacio by Caroline Cherrier, which won the Special Jury Prize, and The World Within by Sandrine Stoïanov & Jean-Charles Finck, which received the  Movistar+ Prize and Young Professionals Jury Prize (full article).

The World WithinThe World Within

After its world premiere in Annecy, Michaela Pavlátová's French-Czech film My Sunny Maad will presented at the end of August at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in a special screening.

At the beginning of August, Steakhouse by Čadež Špela will begin its festival career within the Pardi di Domani international competition at the Locarno Film Festival.

SteakhouseSteakhouse


French film festivals

French film festivals have enabled two French animated feature films to be shown in Europe: Josep was presented at the Rendez-vous with New French Cinema in Rome, and The Prince's Voyage at the Traveling French Film Festival in Poland.

The UniFrance teams also proposed a special edition of its online event MyFrenchFilmFestival – Cannes Special Edition during the Festival de Cannes. From July 6 through 17, 12 features and 12 shorts that have marked the history of MyFrenchFilmFestival as well as that of the Croisette (whether in Official Selection, Directors' Fortnight, Critics' Week, or ACID) were made available for free worldwide. Among them, the animated feature The Swallows of Kabul as well as two animated shorts: The Night of the Plastic Bags and Sunday Lunch.


French animation at award ceremonies of the major film academies

In the categories dedicated to features, Wolfwalkers by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, a French-minority coproduction, received five prizes, including awards for Best Indie Feature and Best Direction - Feature. French professional and student shorts and TV specials were also honored: Shooom's Odyssey won Best Production Design - TV/Media, La Bestia received  Best Student Film, and Souvenir Souvenir added the prestigious Best Short Subject to its awards list. 

La BestiaLa Bestia

 The Quirino Awards, which honor animated works from Latin America and Spain/Portugal, awarded two Franco-Spanish coproductions and one Franco-Portuguese coproduction: Homeless Home by Alberto Vázquez received Best Short Film, Best Visual Development went to Tie by Alexandra Ramirez, and Best Animation Design to Umbrellas by José Prats & Álvaro Robles.


French animation at specialist festivals

Four French feature films were part of the AniMovie competitive strand, 9 short films were selected for the International Competition, 12 for the Student Film Competition and 9 others in the Children and Youth Competition. Click here for the complete selection.

With such a strong French presence, it is not surprising to see that it was also largely reflected on the podium: The AniMovie award for Best Feature want to Wolfwalkers, while  Josep received a Special Mention. Precious won the International Competition Grand Prix, Migrants the Trickstar Nature Award, My Friend Who Shines in the Night received a Special Mention in the FANtastische Prize section, and A Stone in the Shoe a Special Mention in the Tricks for Kids section.

PreciousPrecious

On the occasion of the Focus France organized by the festival, UniFrance proposed an out-of-competition program composed of 11 multi-awarded French shorts, and invited their directors for an online panel to talk about their works and their international careers, to be (re)discovered here.

The CEE Animation pitch and co-production forum for animation projects focused on Central and Eastern Europe awarded its Best Pitch Award for a Feature Film Project to Nadia Nakhlé's Les oiseaux ne se retournent pas, produced by Special Touch Studio.

A total of 38 short films and one feature film from France were selected for the 31st edition of Animafest Zagreb in various sections. Click here for the full lineup.

  Wolfwalkers, the only (partially) French feature film in competition this year, won the Audience Award Mr. M in the Grand Competition Feature Film section. The Golden Zagreb Award for Creativity and Innovative Artistic Achievement went to Maalbeek by Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis, and Easter Eggs by Nicolas Keppens received a Special Mention.

 

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival, a key event in the world of animation, put the spotlight on French works for this hybrid edition with 53 French titles presented (read the article).

This strong presence gave rise to a fine awards list for French works, with 16 prizes and mentions in all competitions, as well as 13 prizes for works pitched at the MIFA (read the article).

During the festival, UniFrance and the AFCA presented the 7th Export Prize to Autour de Minuit, given in recognition of the work undertaken by the company in the area of international distribution (read the article).

The Cartoon Forum, a European coproduction pitching forum for animated audiovisual programs, will be held from September 20 through 23 in Toulouse. With 36 projets involving a least one French producer, France is the most represented country in this edition of the forum, with a total of 84 projects. Click here for more information. 


Call for expressions of interest

Maybe Movies (Zombillenium, Calamity) launches narrative and creative exchange workshops with East African talent for the animated feature film Saba. A 3D CGI film by Benjamin Massoubre and Alexis Ducord, whose story takes root in Ethiopia, in 1936, while Italian fascists invade the country: Emelia, a 10-year-old girl, goes in search of her archaeologist father who disappeared during the quest to find the Queen of Sheba's treasure.

As the film goes into production, the creative team wishes to share its story and artwork with students from East African art schools and universities and young artists through these workshops. More information can be found in the attached document.

Contact: shebacampus@maybemovies.com


French animation on digital platforms

On July 1, the American platform The Criterion Channel launched an Art-House Animation showcase composed of 32 titles dating from the 1950s to now, including 7 excellent French feature films:

On the occasion of this year's Annecy Festival, UniFrance published a snapshot of the presence of French animation films on international platforms, as of April 2021, according to data from Ampere Analysis. The complete document is available for download (in French only) at the bottom of the page.


French animation at the international box office

Between March and May 2021, more than 250 French productions were exhibited across the globe. Among these films, 18 titles were animations—accounting for 7.2 % of all titles. During the same period, these animated films generated 77,000 admissions, which corresponds to 3.2% of the international audience for French cinema.

Top 5 French animated films, by number of admissions outside France in March, April, and May 2021
Rank Film No. of territories

Admissions from March 1 to May 31, 2021

B.O. receipts from Jan 13 to May 31, 2021

1 Bigfoot Family* 13 62,688 264,712
2 Yakari, A Spectacular Journey 4 9,550 121,695
3 Calamity 2 1,450 15,983
4 Belleville Rendez-vous 1 825 5,397
5 Vic the Viking and the Magic Sword* 1 526 2,320

*Production majority-financed by France

 After having represented more than 10% of the admissions of French films in international territories for several months, animation productions experienced a drastic reduction in market share. This was due to the success of other genres and the closure of theaters around the world hampering successul runs of new releases. The gradual reopening of cinemas will allow these films to find their audience, as shown by the recent launches of The Swallows of Kabul in Portugal (Films4You) and The Prince's Voyage in Poland (Association New Horizons), and numerous releases planned over summer.

  Yakari, A Spectacular Journey finally launched in Denmark, where it attracted 4,000 moviegoers (Another World Entertainment APS), Norway (Another World Entertainment AS), and the Czech Republic (Mirius); it returned to cinemas in Germany (Leonine—125,500 total admissions) and Switzerland (Impuls Pictures—50,500 total admissions). The same holds for Calamity, whose Belgian (Le Parc Distribution) and Swiss (Agora Films) careers came to a stop with the shuttering of theaters at the end of October 2020, and which can now once again parade across the screens of both countries. Although its first release dates back to 2003, Belleville Rendez-vous enjoyed a re-release in Taiwan (Swallow Wings Films).

Bigfoot Family remains the leader of the genre. The Franco-Belgian-minority coproduction added more than 62,000 new admissions (of which 21,000 in Bulgaria, bTV Studios) to its current total, thereby taking it over the 2-million spectator mark (outside Belgium and France)!

Last but not least, this year, UniFrance is publishing an unprecedented summary of the international results of French animation films over the last 25 years (1995-2019): French animation represents 95 films distributed abroad and 74.4 million admissions, with shares amounting respectively to 3.1% and 6.2% of the total films on offer and audience. The complete document is available for download (in French only) at the bottom of the page.


Upcoming and recent theatrical releases*

 

* Upcoming releases are subject to cancellation or postponement due to the evolution of the pandemic.


French animation in the foreign press

Links to each article can be accessed by clicking on the magazine title.

Reviews

Interviews

*If you would like to let us know about a film selection, award, or success story that we have not mentioned, please contact us: carla.negre@unifrance.org

Author : Carla Negre

Latest update : 02 August 2021 à 16:45 CEST

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