The first-ever European Animation Awards (EAA) are happening this year.

A date has been set (December 8, 2017), a location has been selected (Le Nouveau Siècle in Lille, France), and the categories have been determined. Sixteen Emile Awards will be handed out, as well as a special achievement award.

The list of categories is below:

  • Best Student Film
  • Best Commissioned Film
  • Best Animated Short Film
  • Best Background and Character design in a short film production
  • Best TV/Broadcast Production (Director)
  • Best Background and character design in a TV/Broadcast Production
  • Best Character Animation in a TV/Broadcast Production
  • Best Writing in a TV/Broadcast Production
  • Best Storyboard in a TV/Broadcast Production
  • Best Soundtrack in a TV/Broadcast Production
  • Best TV/Feature Film (Director)
  • Best Background and Character design in a Feature Production
  • Best Character Animation in a Feature Production
  • Best Writing in a Feature Production
  • Best Storyboard in a Feature Production
  • Best Soundtrack in a Feature Production
  • Lotte Reiniger Award

Memberships to the EAA organization, which grant voting rights for the award, are currently available on the group’s web site. Submission information hasn’t been announced yet, but the Emiles will be open to animation projects from across Europe’s four-dozen-plus countries.

The Emiles represent an important step in the development of pan-European animation culture. While Europe has countless film awards and animation festivals, there is no animation-specific award outside of the localized festival context that recognizes the full scope of animation being produced across the continent. The EAA has modeled its event on ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards, with the aim of uniting the European animation community as the Annies bring together Americans.

The awards could not be launching at a more timely moment. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which presents the Oscars, just made a rule change to its animated feature category that has been widely interpreted in the industry as a move that favors the commercial efforts of big American studios. (Two of this year’s five nominees in the Oscar feature animation category were European films: My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle.)

“The ambition for the European Animation Awards is high,” said Aardman Animations co-founder Peter Lord, who serves as the president of the European Animation Awards organization. “We want this to become an essential part of the year for the very many people across Europe who are involved in this most modern and vibrant artform.”

The EAA has the backing of animation producers from many European countries, and the 15-person board for the organization includes power players from throughout Europe including Ton Crone (producer and director of Association of the Netherlands Animation Producers), Didier Brunner (producer and founder of Les Armateurs, France), Odile Perrin (coordinator, Gobelins’ character animation program, France), Paul Young (producer/co-owner, Cartoon Saloon, Ireland), Stephan Roelants (producer and founder of Melusine Productions, Luxembourg), Doris Cleven (Anima festival director, Belgium), Juan Carlos Concha (filmmaker and director of NonStop Barcelona festival, Spain), and Michael Rose (producer and co-founder of Magic Light Pictures, U.K.).

A trailer for the awards ceremony, directed by Mickaël Royer and animated by Davy Durand, is below:

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