Annecy was back in person and bigger than ever this year, with a record 13,248 (a full 8% more than 2019’s record) accredited visitors attending the French animation festival.
During a joyous closing ceremony on Saturday evening, festival legend Guillermo del Toro delighted attendees by announcing via video that Mexico will hold pride of place at Annecy 2023. Surely part of the crowd’s enthusiasm for the news came from the likelihood that the filmmaker himself will be back in attendance next year. It was also announced that Maya and the Three, The Book of Life, and El Tigre creator and Annecy fan favorite Jorge Gutierrez will design the 2023 festival poster.
Following its premiere at Cannes last month, Little Nicholas – Happy as Can Be bolstered its festival cred by scooping the Annecy Cristal for a Feature Film to cap off the night’s festivities. Directed by Benjamin Massoubre (editor on I Lost My Body) and Amandine Fredon (an animator on A Cat in Paris), the film was adapted from the popular children’s book series created by René Goscinny and animated using a “Chinese ink-wash animation” style, inspired by the look and texture of the book’s original artwork by Jean-Jacques Sempé.
The Jury Award for a feature and the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution went to No Dogs or Italians Allowed from filmmaker Alain Ughetto (Jasmine), using clay stop-motion to retrace the steps of his ancestors who, in the early 20th century, crossed the alps to emigrate from Italy to France.
This year’s feature film competition lineup was among the best we’ve ever seen at Annecy, or any animation festival for that matter, and the jury seemed to agree, offering up a pair of further special distinctions for Signe Baumane’s My Love Affair with Marriage and Pierre Foldes’ Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.