Annecy Animation Festival – the historical background

The Annecy Animation Festival

Chris Krupa begins a two part article with the background to the Festival.

Anyone who has ever watched animation on television or in the cinema will realise that it is a truly international medium. Films from a wide selection of countries are enjoyed by a far wider audience than would be likely to appreciate live action films from the same countries. However, much as we animators lament it, a very small proportion of the films which we make ever achieve commercial distribution. Whether this is due to the lack of interest of the main cinema chains and television channels or to commercial factors is difficult to ascertain. If we relied only on TV and the cinema to watch animation we would be very disappointed.

The best way to see the works of our fellow film makers is to attend one of the international festivals devoted to animation. The five main festivals are Cambridge, Annecy and Varna which are held on odd years, with Zagreb and Ottawa held on even years. A consensus of opinion states that Annecy is probably the most enjoyable.

Annecy is a large town in the French Alps about an hour and a half’s drive from Geneva. Beautifully sited at the end of a large lake, it is the capital of the department of Haute Savoie. Parts of the town are very picturesque and have been likened to Venice on a small scale due to the river and canals which wind through the old town. Annecy is dominated by a well preserved medieval castle which, together with the pleasures of exploring the narrow streets and interesting shops, make Annecy itself a very pleasant place for a holiday.

Annecy caters for a great many visitors in the high season of July and August. The many hotels, camp sites and a youth hostel ensure that there is a wide variety of choice in the price and type of accommodation available. There are many diversions and places to visit within easy travelling distance of the town including forest walks, sailing and swimming in the lake, cable cars to ride and mountains to climb. The animator who wishes to attend the festival and who has a less enthusiastic family may be assured of amusements outside the cinema to occupy their time.

ICE by Robert Doucet of Canada was inspired by steel engravings and told the story of how ice was cut from the St. Lawrence river in the winter and stored for use in the summer.

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