June was a busy animation month for me, which (ironically) means the blog has been rather silent. The biggest event for the month was my first trip to the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market. Annecy is apparently one of the animation events each year — seasoned professionals, animation students, representatives of most major animation studios, and film fans all descend on the picturesque French town every year to see the latest and greatest in the world of animation, and to meet some of the people that make that work possible.
There was so much going on at Annecy this year that it would be a feat just to cover a fraction of the films, meetings, and networking events that happened over the course of the five day festival. Among my personal favorites was the debut of Sanjay’s Super Team (the new Pixar short scheduled for release with The Good Dinosaur in November), Cartoon Network’s look into their Global Animated Shorts program (and a preview of upcoming show We Bare Bears), the information session on Renderman (which you can get and use for free here), and getting to see a ton of incredible short films, including Adam Elliot’s new work Ernie Biscuit. The real triumph of the festival, though, was the amazing way the Annecy highlighted the work of women in the animation industry throughout the festival.
Billing the 39th festival as the “year of the woman,” Annecy 2015 featured an all-female jury and programs of films by women directors. Florence Miailhe, whose work has received many prestigious prizes thanks to her unusual style that she calls “film painting” and her easily recognisable poetic universe, was awarded the Honorary Cristal and filmmakers Janet Pearlman and Stacey Steers had their bodies of animation work highlighted. Meetings for Women in Animation and their French counterpart Les femmes s’animent helped to highlight the ongoing disparity between men’s and women’s opportunities in the animation job market and created a space where women could meet and learn from other women in the animation industry.
And, as in previous years, the students from Gobelins l’école de l’image created short sequences to start each screening, but this year the shorts all paid tribute to female animation pioneers — Mary Blair, Alison De Vere, Claire Parker, Charlotte Reiniger, and Evelyn Lambert. These pieces were a joy to watch before each screening, and do a great job of highlighting to work of a few of the female animators that are too often overlooked.
Mary Blair (art director at Disney 1940-1968) directed by Michiru Baudet, Cécile Carre, Viviane Guimarães, Fanou Lefebvre and Léni Marotte
Alison De Vere (background artist for Yellow Submarine and noted short film director) directed by Adrien Calle, Leïla Courtillon, Martin Hurmane, Nathan Otaño and Jules Rigolle
Charlotte “Lotte” Reiniger (The Adventures of Prince Achmed, considered the first full-length animated film) directed by Hadrien Bonnet, Nicolas Capitaine, Charlène Chesnier, Céline Desoutter and Samuel Klughertz
Claire Parker (inventor of the Pinscreen) directed by Alix Arrault, Jules Durand, Arina Korczynski, Margo Roquelaure and Ines Scheiber
Evelyn “Eve” Lambert (Canadian animator and director: Maps in Action, The Impossible Trap, Begone Dull Care) directed by Simon Anding, Elena Dupressoir, Lucas Durkheim, Paul Regnier and Diane Tran-Duc