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Animation First Animation First

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) has unveiled the programming lineup for its upcoming seventh edition of Animation First, which will run from January 23 through 28, 2024, in New York City.

The six-day event showcases Francophone animation’s legacy and innovation through feature and short film screenings, a “First Look” presentation, filmmaker discussions, the student short competition, and more.

Next year’s Animation First will feature a juried competition for its Francophone Shorts program for the first time in its history. The jury will be made up of experienced industry professionals, including Sommets du cinéma d’animation artistic director Marco de Blois, director and animator Candy Kugel (The Last Time), and illustrator Marcos Chin.

Another addition coming in 2024 is that Animation First will host an Animation Speak/Easy event. Speak/Easy is a New York-based series of bi-monthly talks featuring three guest artists. The Animation First guest speakers will be announced soon.

For the upcoming Animation First, FIAF commissioned legendary illustrator and character designer Peter de Sève to design the festival’s poster, which will debut later this month. De Sève has spent three decades working on major animated productions, including Ice Age, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, and many others. He’s also drawn many covers for The New Yorker. In addition to designing the poster, De Sève will attend the festival and host a talk titled “My Wonderful Life on the Hamster Wheel.”

Animation First 2024 will host its first-ever spotlight Québécois animation with a program featuring the U.S. premiere of Montreal filmmaker Joël Vaudreuil’s When Adam Changes and a collection of films from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Janet Perlman (The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin), who will be in attendance to discuss her illustrious career and screen her latest film, The Girl with the Red Beret.

Returning for the 2024 festival, Animation Jam is a 48-hour student exercise to complete an animated sequence. Animation First is also bringing back its ar/vr experiences in the FIAF library, including the U.S. premiere of Gaudi, the Atelier of the Divine and Plastisapiens, with more titles to be added soon. And graphic designer and filmmaker Zaven Najjar (artistic director of The Siren) will attend to introduce his debut feature, Allah is Not Obliged, in a First Look session.

Seven features will be screened at Animation First 2024, including three making their New York debuts. FIAF will open with Jérémie Périn’s sci-fi noir drama Mars Express and close with the U.S. premiere of Sepideh Farsi and Zaven Najjar’s The Siren. The full feature lineup includes:

  • Mars Express, Jérémie Périn
  • Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams, Benoît Chieux
  • The Siren, Sepideh Farsi and Zaven Najjar
  • Robot Dreams, Pablo Berger
  • Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
  • The Sacred Cave, Daniel Minlo and Cyrille Masso
  • When Adam Changes, Joël Vaudreuil

Animation First 2024 will host a half-dozen short film sections, including:

Animation First is programmed by FIAF film curators Delphine Selles-Alvarez and Chloé Dheu. According to Selles-Alvarez:

This year’s festival celebrates the power of animation to explore thought-provoking subjects —as with the films, When Adam Changes, The Siren, and Mars Express, amongst others—and magnificent worlds such as those showcased in Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams and the new vr experience, Gaudi, the Atelier of the Divine. With the inclusion of the inaugural limited-edition poster by illustrator Peter de Sève, FIAF is highlighting its mission to celebrate animation as a cinematic art that’s not just a genre for young audiences.

Admissions to Animation First are available now, with an early bird discount available through December 22. Click here for more details.

Pictured at top: Mars Express, Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams, The Siren

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