Each year France’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival honors the animated output of a single country as part of its programming line-up. In 2016, that spotlight will turn inward as the festival presents a first-of-its-kind retrospective of French animation.

The festival has recruited a dozen different programmers to curate the French tribute. The contrasting visions of these programmers is designed to be “a reflection of how the rest of the world sees [French animation]…mirrors and prisms to present a fragmented and colorful kaleidoscopic image of animated filmmaking in France.”

The twelve-screening series, titled “French Animation: The Mirror Effect,” begins with the pioneering work of Émile Reynaud and Émile Cohl and moves forward from there, recognizing all the major names from Paul Grimault and René Laloux to Jean-François Laguionie and Michel Ocelot.

Every aspect of French animation will be examined, including television:

For over 50 years, television has been the birthplace of significant series where great creators have distinguished themselves. Firstly, Jean Image, Jacques Rouxel and Serge Danot, who populated the imaginations of millions of children with a clown, a strange bird and a roundabout, followed by the innovator Georges Lacroix and his fabulous geometry, or more recently Delphine Maury and her political-literary stories… And in the middle of all that, the biggest names have worked in advertising, from Cohl to Grimault, as well as from Marius O’Galop and Robert Lortac to Pierre Coffin.

Studios and independent filmmakers:

Studios (La Fabrique, Les Armateurs, Folimage, Xilam…) and little and large production companies (Les Films de l’Arlequin, JPL, Vivement lundi !, Les Films du Nord, Autour de minuit, Sacrebleu, Je suis bien content and many others…) have sprung up and played hosts to exceptional talents: Florence Miailhe, Sylvain Chomet, Jacques-Rémy Girerd, Serge Elissalde, Pascal Le Nôtre, Michaël Dudok de Wit, Benjamin Renner, Jérémy Clapin, Franck Dion, Sébastien Laudenbach, Pierre-Luc Granjon, Bruno Collet, Sarah Van Den Boom, Jean-Claude Rozec, Marie Paccou, Édouard Salier, Stéphanie Lansaque and François Leroy, Bastien Dubois, Osman Cerfon, Céline Devaux, Boris Labbé…

And the country’s rich legacy of student filmmaking:

It is said that in France you can find the best animation schools in the world, or at least the biggest range of training programmes available between GOBELINS, l’école de l’image, Supinfocom, La Poudrière, l’ENSAD, Émile-Cohl, l’EMCA, l’ESMA and others.

Annecy, which will take place this year from June 13th through the 18th, has just started to announce its special programming events. Another early announcement is a program devoted to creative advertising that will explore the inherent tensions between artistic expression, aesthetic innovation, and selling products.

(Top: “Kirikou and the Sorceress,” Michel Ocelot)

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