It was my first time at Annecy and it was tres bon, magnifique, incroyable, really really good fun and fully knackering. Annecy is astonishingly beautiful and the festival is vast. I’m still amazed that my little film (They Both Explode) was in the official selection. Administative error or not, I fully intend to repeat this slight of hand sometime in the future!
Annecy is a place to consider and reconsider where you fit in the grand scheme of the animation world. It is a place to think big thoughts about impossible things. It is a place, most importantly, to ride pedalos and then dance with new friends ’till the wee small hours. I met innumerable fun and inspiring people and only fell on my arse in front of them once (walking in bowling shoes, slipped in someone’s spilt drink. Full slapstick prat fall. Beer retained. Pro.)
It’s only possible to catch a fraction of the films shown at Annecy but I’ll list a few of my highlights here:
Tito On Ice by Max Andersson & Helena Ahonen
For me Tito on Ice was the surprise highlight of the feature films. A part live action and part animated documentary that defies all explanation. It has a cracking soundtrack with a load of 80s post-punk from the former-Yugoslavia.
But Milk is Important by Eirik Grønmo Bjørnsen & Anna Mantzaris
A friendly but troubling creature enters the life of a man who already finds society extremely worrying. A very pleasing film.
Rabbit and Deer by Péter Vácz
I love it when the animation techniques used in a short film are integral to the plot. This film does that really nicely.
Persistence of Vision by Kevin Schreck
Tragic documentary about Richard Williams’ doomed attempts to create an animated masterpiece. Richard Williams refuses to talk about the film to this day and the old interviews with him make the whole endeavor look like a lesson in dramatic irony.
Not Over by Toru Hayai
This one is very short and already online. I saw Toru Hayai interviewed over breakfast on Saturday morning. At first he just wanted to make some nice landscapes but then later decided that maybe a character would help. I think I can safely confirm that it did.
He summarised his own reading of the story something like this: So often in life we just want to get on with the thing we like to do but somehow the world conspires to make everything into a competition. Ain’t that just the truth.
Taxandria by Raoul Servais – a lost classic mostly live action 90’s Belgian fantasy film. It was screened in a castle courtyard as the stars came out. Magical.
Wildebeest by Ant Blades – funny internet hit, still makes me laugh
A Flood Story by Maarten Isa – my heart sank when this started with some text saying it was ‘a landscape’, a 17 minute installation designed to be played on a loop in a gallery. My trepidation was misplaced though, somehow it proved constantly engaging on a big cinema screen.
The Event by Julia Pott – The brilliant Julia Pott’s most enigmatic work to date mixing video and animation to visualise a poem by Tom Chivers.
In The Air is Christopher Gray by Felix Massie – A twisted sentimental reflection on the blinding power of young love. Darkly funny.
Room On The Broom by Max Lang & Jan Lachauer – Another hit Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler picture-book adaptation from the makers of the TV versions of The Gruffallo and The Gruffallo’s Child. The performance of the cat steals the show.
Ziegenort by Tomasz Popakul – a strange, discomforting and long short (or perhaps short long) film that drew me into its wobbly-lined 2D/3D mysterious world. Mostly black and white and morally grey.
The Big Beast by Pierre-Luc Granjon – A good fable.
Right, I’m now off to track down some of the films I missed and look-up all the people I met by sifting through my memory and the stack of business cards I amassed. See you next year?