The magical Annecy Animation Festival is sadly over for another year. My third time visiting proved once again to be a wonderful experience – catching up with old friends, making new aquaintences and, of course, checking out new films. Here are my round up highlights of the festival. Enjoy!
Google Spotlight Series: Felix Massie – ‘Rain or Shine’
Virtual reality projects are steadily gaining momentum on the animation scene. This year, Annecy lined up a fantastic showcase of Google Spotlight Stories for lucky festival goers. My favourite presentation was the brilliant ‘Rain or Shine’ directed by Felix Massie, a story of a little girl who receives a pair of red spotty sunglasses in the post. However, when she puts on the sunglasses the beautiful sunny day turns into a stormy rain cloud, just where she stands.
Viewers interacted with the story using their smartphones, exploring the beautifully crafted 360-degree world. The brilliant aspect of 360 viewing is that you can look around anywhere, follow individual characters and unlock mini-stories within the story. Take my word for it, it’s very cool.
Check out more Google Spotlight Stories here: https://atap.google.com/spotlight-stories/
2. Ma vie de Courgette – My Life as a Courgette
During the animators picnic (a regular annual meet up by the lake in Annecy, where everyone gathers to witness the carnage of the pedalo race) I was fortunate to gain a hot tip about a feature film that was very likely to win the Annecy Crystal. I didn’t have a ticket for the screening but I decided to brave a queue anyway and, after an hour or so, I managed to get a much sought after seat in the cinema. I was not disappointed.
My Life as a Courgette tells the story of a 10-year-old boy, called Courgette, who is placed into a foster home after the sudden death of his mother. What follows is a heartwarming tale of Courgette’s adjustment to his new life, making friends and finding a new family.
Beautifully animated with a cast of quirky characters, My Life as a Courgette, as predicted, went on to scoop the Audience Prize and the Crystal Award for best animated feature. A film well worth queuing for.
3. Moth Collective
Moth Collective have been working hard since forming in 2010. Set up by Daniel Chester, Dave Prosser and Marie-Margaux Tsakiri- Scanatovits, after meeting at the Royal College of Art – this talented trio have since been producing some of the most beautiful hand-drawn animation for a number of international clients.
Moth was awarded the prodigious Crystal for best Commissioned Film, and rightly so. Look out for more animated gems in future from this hugely talented team.
One mini highlight I enjoy from Annecy is seeing the fresh batch of student shorts from the acclaimed Parisian school of visual communication, GOBELINS. The films serve as a hugely enjoyable warm up act, played out before each screening. This year the chosen theme was la France, an animated celebration of all things French. Fantastique!
Find out more about the 2016 Annecy winners here: http://www.annecy.org/festival/awards