Annecy feautres in competition Annecy feautres in competition

As it confirms that it is forging ahead with a hybrid event, Annecy Festival has unveiled the features in competition for its 2021 edition.

The festival has chosen 19 features: ten in the main competition, nine in the Contrechamp category (which is reserved for more indie and offbeat fare). At least one of these films was supposed to play at last year’s festival, which was held entirely online, but saw its production delayed by the pandemic.

Japan once again has a strong presence, with three films in the running, including the latest from major studios Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) and Studio 4°C (Children of the Sea). Canada is the only other country with three features, among them Felix Dufour-Laperrière’s experimental work Archipelago.

Asia is the best-represented continent, with eight films in all: South Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan each have one, China two (one of which is a co-production with Germany). North America has four — a big rise from last year’s zero.

Not well represented in this line-up: women directors. Only two of the nineteen features are directed by women. Annecy organizers point out to us that they believe the situation will change at future editions with more films by women moving into production nowadays. The fact that only 11% of the feature selections are directed by women stands in stark comparison to Annecy’s other competitive categories, where women are better represented this year: short films (43% women directors), student (60%), tv (27%), and commissioned films (38%).

Last year, for rights reasons, many of the more high-profile features could not be watched in full on the virtual platform. It remains to be confirmed which of the below will be available to online participants.

Read on for the full selection, alongside comments from Annecy’s artistic director Marcel Jean. Titles we have previously covered are hyperlinked.

Official competition
  • The Ape Star — Linda Hambäck (Denmark, Norway, Sweden)

    “A film that follows the grand tradition of cinema for young audiences, from the north of Europe.”

  • Snotty Boy — Marcus Rosenmüller, Santiago Lopez Jover (Germany, Austria)

    “A pleasant surprise for this first animation feature produced in the Austrian vernacular; a funny movie that takes a biting look at reality.”

  • You Animal! The Nimfa Dimaano Story — Avid Liongoren (Philippines)

    “One of the selection’s special surprises. A fun and funny film tackling adult topics, with complex characters and a scathing depiction of social differences.”

  • Poupelle of Chimney Town — Yusuke Hirota (Japan)

    “An absolutely astonishing, profoundly original futuristic work coming to us from Studio 4°C.”

  • Jiang Ziya: The Legend of Deification — Wei Li, Teng Cheng (China)

    “A spectacular action and adventure work, another lush example of the artistic ambitions and high technical feats of Chinese animation.”

  • The Deer King — Masashi Ando, Masayuki Miyaji (Japan)

    “Production I.G studio’s most recent production, a film impatiently awaited by animation fans. This is a complex, expansive and ambitious work. Among others, Masashi Ando is known for having worked alongside Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon.”

  • Flee — Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden)

    “A highly anticipated feature film coming to us after its incredible success early this year at Sundance.”

  • Lamya’s Poem — Alex Kronemer (Canada, U.S.)

    “A movie which belongs to the introductory geopolitical sphere, quite present in animation cinema the recent years with such films as The Breadwinner. Lamya’s Poem is the first animation feature directed by Alex Kronemer, already the scriptwriter of Bilal: A New Breed of Heroes, selected out of competition at Annecy 2015.”

  • Josée, The Tiger and the Fish — Kotaro Tamura (Japan)

    “A juicy rom-com produced by Bones that holds pride of place at the festival’s opening session.”

  • My Sunny Maad — Michaela Pavlatova (Czech Republic, France)

    My Sunny Maad from Michaela Pavlatova is the first feature film froma director who won the Cristal for short film in 2012. It is a touching story, full of nuance and subtlety about the experience of a Western woman living in Afghanistan. Definitely one of the most anticipated films of the year!”

Contrechamp
  • Mount Fuji Seen from a Moving Train — Pierre Hébert (Canada)

    “A living legend in film-stock engraving and animated explorations combining documentary and multi-disciplinary experimentations, Pierre Hébert has gifted us today with a major work inspired by pioneer Robert Breer.”

  • Archipelago — Félix Dufour-Laperrière (Canada)

    “This film signals the return of a filmmaker with a strong artistic touch, just two years after treating us to Ville Neuve, also competing in the Contrechamp section. What we have here is a visually sumptuous essay, reminiscent of the spirit of Chris Marker.”

  • Cryptozoo — Dash Shaw (U.S.)

    Cryptozoo comes to us following rave reviews at Berlin and Sundance. This feature film spins its magic between poetry, science-fiction and political philosophy. With it, Dash Shaw has shown himself to be a rightful heir to René Laloux.”

  • Chicken of the Mound — Xi Chen (Germany, China)

    “This movie will astound many! The director entices us into a world thronging with robots, a mix between David OReilly and The Matrix.

  • Climbing — Hye-mi Kim (South Korea)

    Climbing follows a female character obsessed with mountain climbing and performance, forced to face her own personal demons. Here is a film that flickers between intrigue, mystery and nightmare.”

  • Absolute Denial — Ryan Braund (U.K.)

    “A one-man work that once again describes how an artificial intelligence can overtake its creator.”

  • Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People — Cesar Cabral (Brazil)

    “This film was to have been part of the Annecy 2020 selection. Unfortunately, this stop-motion documentary dedicated to the famous artist Angeli could not be completed on time due to the pandemic. We are so very happy to be able to present it to you this year.”

  • My Uncle José — Ducca Rios (Brazil)

    “A political and historical work made for young viewers. A beautiful example of the creativity that has courageously survived in Brazilian animation through these very tough times.”

  • City of Lost Thing — Chih-Yen Yee (Taiwan)

    “This work entices us into a city awash with plastic bags and other discarded items. What we have here is an original piece, with a strong musical underpinning.”

Pictured at top: “Climbing,” “My Sunny Maad,” “Snotty Boy”

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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