ANNECY 2017: Animation Is Film, A Major New L.A. Animation Festival, Has Been Announced

Los Angeles is getting a new animation festival. Animation is Film, launching this fall, is a joint venture between nine-time Oscar-nominated animation distributor GKIDS, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and GKIDS, and Variety.

The dates and location for the first edition have already been set: October 20-22, 2017, at Hollywood’s iconic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (currently known as TCL Chinese 6 Theater). The first edition will present a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives, and short film programs.

There is nothing modest about the aims of the event: Animation is Film has stated its key intention is filling a void in the U.S. market for “a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia– and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking.”

Among the mission objectives the festival has outlined, Animation is Film will support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and “who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of.” Further, the festival has identified its aim to be a champion of all who create animation, promising to support women filmmakers, as well as filmmakers from a broad range of cultural, economic, and national backgrounds.

The organizing committee of the first edition includes:

  • Eric Beckman – Founder and CEO, GKIDS, Co-founder, New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival
  • Patrick Eveno – CEO, CITIA – Annecy International Animation Film Festival
  • Mickaël Marin – CITIA Managing Director, Head of Economic Development & Mifa
  • Marcel Jean – Artistic Director, Annecy International Animation Film Festival
  • Michelle Sobrino-Stearns – Group Publisher, Variety
  • Steven Gaydos – Executive Editor, Variety
  • Peter Debruge – Chief Film Critic, Variety
  • Fumi Kitahara – Chair of Publicity, Women in Animation

“Creating a stateside film festival that recognizes the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form has long been a dream of GKIDS,” said its founder and CEO Eric Beckman, who notably is also the co-founder of the long-running New York International Children’s Film Festival. “We are thrilled that Annecy and Variety have partnered with us to launch Animation is Film and bring exceptional animated filmmaking from around the world to audiences in Los Angeles, the world capital of filmmaking. We look forward to working with an expanding group of partners and supporters to grow the festival over the coming years.”

Added Variety Group Publisher and CRO Michelle Sobrino-Stearns: “The festival will be a champion of excellence in animation, an exciting audience event, and a significant new addition to the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.”

(Image at top: A still from the Goya-winning animated feature “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children,” an upcoming GKIDS release directed by Alberto Vazquez and Pedro Rivero.)