Annecy Animation Festival – the historical background

An international panel had viewed all the films which had been entered for the competition and because of the large number of films submitted, they had divided the films into three categories. Firstly there were the films which would not be shown at all; then there were those which would be shown but which for various reasons were not suitable for consideration by the prize giving jury, and finally there were those which would be eligible for prizes. There were 73 films in the competition category and 58 to be shown out of competition. They varied greatly in quality, content and technique. As selection must always to some extent be a matter of personal taste, preference and opinion, it was obvious that there would be differences of opinion as to the correctness of the selection panel’s categorisation of the films.

It had been decided that at least one film would be shown from every participating nation. This led to some technically rather uninspiring and tedious films seeing the light of day. French audiences, always willing to express their feelings about the films in vocal and forceful manner were given the opportunity on a number of occasions to whistle, boo and shout at the makers of a few of the films. Not that this was undeserved in my opinion! Never¬theless, despite the dubious quality of a minority of the films the standard of the vast majority was very high, far higher overall than in previous years.

To quote the festival programme ‘Manuel Otero’s film I TOMORROW tries to portray through its own pictures a kaleidoscope of visual myths and symbols it creates, An emotional and sentimental vision of the individual facing collective oppression.

Animation techniques were as varied as content and quality. Almost every method of animation ever devised was in use. There were films made by direct drawing on the film stock, there were puppet films of many kinds (including a new WALT DISNEY sponsored puppet film of which more next issue) There were films made by drawing on paper with various mediums and there were a number of computer animation films. The only major trend seems to be a gradual drift away from traditional full cel animation to more direct and lively forms like plasticine and crayon on paper. However, the majority of films at the festival used cel in a variety of ways.

Because of the great number of films at the festival it would be impossible to talk about them all individually. Indeed, such was the complexity of many of them that they were open to a variety of interpretations. So to give a meaningful analysis would be difficult and a simple summary of the story almost meaningless. The best advice must be to try to see as many of them as possible and to draw your own conclusions. The opportunities for doing this are not so infrequent as might be supposed. There were representatives from Channel Four, The National Film Theatre, Cambridge Animation Festival and the BBC at Annecy so it is likely that some or all of these people will be showing films from the festival eventually.

THE DOMINO by Robert Stenhouse of New Zealand told the story of an individual who was plagued by bureaucrats.

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