Annecy poster 2020 Annecy poster 2020

Three weeks ago, the organizers of Annecy Festival stated that an online edition would be “inconceivable” in the event of a coronavirus-related cancellation. How fast things change.

Today, the organizers announced that this year’s festival, which was scheduled for June 15–20, will not go ahead as planned. Nor will the accompanying Mifa market. Instead of a real-life event, a virtual edition is being prepared, about which more details will be released soon. France is currently on general lockdown.

According to the festival’s statement, the online edition “would give access to exclusive works and original content, despite the current circumstances.” The official selection will be announced on April 15. “We will then disclose an offer that will be elaborate and up to the expectations of our festivalgoers and loyal MIFA professionals.” Annecy was due to spotlight African animation this year; that will now be the focus of next year’s festival (June 14–19, 2021).

Speaking to Le film français in mid-March, Mickaël Marin — CEO of CITIA, the organization that runs the festival — said that his team was considering delaying the festival or scaling it down, in light of the crisis. Both options have been rejected.

He added that online screenings were not an option: “We are very attached to the human aspect and meet-ups — the very essence of festivals. Audiences need to be in cinemas to see the films.” The flurry of virtual festivals — and announcements of more to come — in recent weeks may have helped change the organizers’ minds.

Annecy is the most prominent international animation festival in the world, serving every year as a forum for high-profile premieres and important industry announcements. To what extent it can retain this cachet in an online form remains to be seen. If filmmakers opt to delay the launch of their film, the question is: which festival(s) will benefit later in the calendar?

Read the organizers’ full statement below:

Dear friends of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market,

It is with tremendous disappointment that we are resigned to canceling the Annecy 2020 edition.

Over the past few weeks, driven by our passion and our enthusiasm, despite the confinement constraints we were nevertheless hoping to maintain the exceptional edition that we had in store for you. We were so looking forward to greeting you as we do every year in June, in Annecy, the animation film capital of the world.

But today, the rationale and the international situation compel us to act with lucidity and responsibility. To show our respect and our deep gratitude to the health care providers, as well as all those who choose solidarity and the public interest.

Annecy is a party, a “family gathering.” We cannot bring ourselves to celebrate animation and our 60th anniversary when some amongst you would not be able to attend.

We took the decision not to move the festival to a later date. The necessary facilities and the regular events’ calendar, as well as scheduled postponements of other events, do not provide us with a reasonable option.

For several weeks, our founding members, partners, suppliers, professionals, and creators have been sending us their full support, and for this we are immensely grateful. These encouragements motivate us to offering an Annecy 2020 online version that would give access to exclusive works and original content, despite the current circumstances.

The official selection will be announced on April 15; we will then disclose an offer that will be elaborate and up to the expectations of our festivalgoers and loyal Mifa professionals.

The team is mobilised on this project, so see you in the forthcoming days, and on June 14–19, 2021 to finally celebrate, as it should be, the festival’s 60th anniversary, and African animation, in Annecy.

Dominique Puthod, Citia Chairman
Mickaël Marin, Citia CEO
Marcel Jean, Artistic Director

More information can be found on the festival’s FAQs page.