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ANNECY 2017: Animation Is Film, A Major New L.A. Animation Festival, Has Been Announced

Los Angeles is getting a new animation festival. Animation is Film, launching this fall, is a joint venture between nine-time Oscar-nominated animation distributor GKIDS, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and GKIDS, and Variety.

The dates and location for the first edition have already been set: October 20-22, 2017, at Hollywood’s iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (currently known as TCL Chinese 6 Theater). The first edition will present a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives, and short film programs.

There is nothing modest about the aims of the event: Animation is Film has stated its key intention is filling a void in the U.S. market for “a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia– and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking.”

Among the mission objectives the festival has outlined, Animation is Film will support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and “who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.” Further, the festival has identified its aim to be a champion of all who create animation, promising to support women filmmakers, as well as filmmakers from a broad range of cultural, economic, and national backgrounds.

The organizing committee of the first edition includes:

  • Eric Beckman – Founder and CEO, GKIDS, Co-founder, New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival
  • Patrick Eveno – CEO, CITIA – Annecy International Animation Film Festival
  • Mickaël Marin – CITIA Managing Director, Head of Economic Development & Mifa
  • Marcel Jean – Artistic Director, Annecy International Animation Film Festival
  • Michelle Sobrino-Stearns – Group Publisher, Variety
  • Steven Gaydos – Executive Editor, Variety
  • Peter Debruge – Chief Film Critic, Variety
  • Fumi Kitahara – Chair of Publicity, Women in Animation

“Creating a stateside film festival that recognizes the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form has long been a dream of GKIDS,” said its founder and CEO Eric Beckman, who notably is also the co-founder of the long-running New York International Children’s Film Festival. “We are thrilled that Annecy and Variety have partnered with us to launch Animation is Film and bring exceptional animated filmmaking from around the world to audiences in Los Angeles, the world capital of filmmaking. We look forward to working with an expanding group of partners and supporters to grow the festival over the coming years.”

Added Variety Group Publisher and CRO Michelle Sobrino-Stearns: “The festival will be a champion of excellence in animation, an exciting audience event, and a significant new addition to the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.”

(Image at top: A still from the Goya-winning animated feature “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children,” an upcoming GKIDS release directed by Alberto Vazquez and Pedro Rivero.)

  • This is great news. I will be there for sure!

  • Chris Webb

    Great idea – I wish them success. This is loooooong overdue. I especially like the festival’s name: “Animation is Film.” I like it because it encourages the typical person in the Los Angeles film industry to take animation seriously.

  • animwriter

    Will be watching out for tickets and other details!

  • Excellent news! It’s encouraging to see a proper international animation festival coming to America at long last. Here’s hoping this catches on like wildfire!

  • Cameron Ward

    I want to go to this so badly…too bad it isn’t a touring event. I would love for it to come to Austin Texas.

  • edhooks

    The new festival is good news because ANY new festival is good news. The reason given for putting it in Los Angeles, however, is ridiculous: Hollywood is no longer “the world capital of animated filmmaking..” Virtually all of the movies being distributed by GKids and most of the films screened at Annecy are international. Hollywood has successfully commercialized animation to sell theme parks and branded toys — but, in Hollywood, an animated movie is “content”, not art. Hollywood has had its day. Time to move on.

  • akear

    America and Hollywood no longer have an animation industry so it really makes no sense in having a festival there. I am getting over the shock that America has basically lost its VFX and animation industry. This is basically the same way many thought when the US lost its auto industry to the Germans and Japanese. At first there is shock, then anger, and then cynical acceptance. America is becoming a country that creates and produces nothing. I think America now has an inferiority complex and might explain why Trump was elected. People in the creative industries are now in the same position as US steel and auto workers. If America loses its creativity then it is pretty much over.

  • Sarah

    Will you keep us updated when it’s open for submissions? Thanks!