The eyes of the animation world are focused on France this week, where the Annecy Festival is now in full swing.
While there are plenty of big-name screenings, celebrity masterclasses, and thought-provoking panels in this year’s program, one of the most enjoyable parts of any edition of Annecy is its short film lineup.
Below, we’ve highlighted ten shorts that we think attendees should be sure to watch while in Annecy. Some of them have been around for several months, while others are brand new. Each has something that makes for can’t-miss viewing for anyone with an Annecy accreditation.
27, Flóra Anna Buda (France)
- Flóra Anna Buda’s (Entropia) latest short will be one of the most talked about for the rest of the year and through awards season after winning the short film Palme d’Or in Cannes. The film is an expertly crafted story about a 27-year-old woman who frequently escapes into daydreams because she feels trapped living with her parents and younger brother. After a party one evening, she is involved in a serious accident that forces her to reevaluate the choices she’s making.
Dog Apartment, Priit Tender (Estonia)
- Priit Tender’s Dog Apartment (Koerkorter) turns on Serge, a ballet dancer who has been deported to a farming collective in a rural area of the Soviet Union. The backgrounds and puppets are stunning, but the film’s touching ballet sequence in the middle of a slaughterhouse is what caught our eye. Sergei moves with grace and fluidity that bely his mundane and routine lifestyle.
11, Vuk Jevremovic (Croatia, Germany)
- Likely to get your blood pumping, even if you’re not a fan of the beautiful game, this soccer-themed short visualizes the chaos that enters a player’s mind as they line up to take a penalty kick. Numerous techniques are used to emphasize the maelstrom of professional sport, including watercolor, oil painting, and drawing. Explosions of color set to a thrumming soundtrack and commentary clips from major soccer milestones all serve to create an adrenaline-filled viewing experience.
Humo, Rita Basulto (Mexico)
- Rita Basulto is a Mexican animation superstar who has won four Mexican Academy Ariel Awards. Her latest film is perhaps the most difficult to watch among them. The short is the first-person account of a small boy living in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. As carefully detailed gaunt and pale puppets slowly move through the camp, the protagonist describes his life with a heartbreaking innocence.
Our Uniform, Yegane Moghaddam (Iran)
- Yegane Moghaddam’s short Our Uniform uses fabrics for backgrounds and features blocky, vibrantly colored characters that dream of greater freedoms for girls and women living in Tehran.
Salvation Has No Name, Joseph Wallace (U.K., France, Czech Republic)
- Joseph Wallace’s latest short is a breathtaking fable about xenophobia that uses fantastic elements to discuss the current refugee crisis in Europe. Although most of the short is done with stop motion, several animation techniques are used to create a crisp and clean aesthetic that feels nostalgic with clear influences from its Czech roots.
Pipes, Jessica Meier, Kilian Feusi, Sujanth Ravichandran (Swizterland)
- We’re not sure that any other short in competition this year has as many visual gags-per-minute as this student film from Jessica Meier, Kilian Feusi, and Sujanth Ravichandran. At just three minutes, it’s one of the section’s shortest, but also one of the most fun. A plumber is called to fix a problem at a gay fetish club where he feels immediately out of place. After overcoming some initial discomfort – everything he sees turns into something erotic – he teams with the establishment’s patrons to find clever ways of fixing the pipes.
Carne de Dios, Patricio Plaza (Mexico, Argentina)
- Mexico is this year’s guest country at Annecy, and one of its strongest contributions to the festival is Carne de Dios. Set in colonial-era Mexico, the film turns on a sick priest who, to save his own life, is forced to participate in traditional spiritual rituals that he has long condemned. The film features some impressive lighting designs to help enhance the mystical nature of the rituals and the character design is top-notch.
The Purple Season, Clénmence Bouchereau (France)
- Animated using the pinscreen technique, The Purple Season turns on a group of young girls who fade in and out of frame in this coming-of-age story about friendships and rivalries set in the edges of a mangrove. Weather plays a key role in the daily lives of the girls, and the pinscreen animation creates exciting and memorable rain and storm effects.
Eeva, Morten Tsinakov, Lucija Mrzljak (Estonia, Croatia)
- Since premiering at Tallinn Black Nights in November of last year, Eeva has screened at the Berlinale, Animafest Zagreb, and now features in competition at Annecy. The 2d short has a wonderfully dark humor to its absurdist story about a recently widowed woman. The animation will be familiar to anyone who saw the filmmakers’ previous short The Stork, but there has been an obvious evolution and refinement to their work in the three years since that film was released.
Pictured at top: Pipes, Our Uniform, Salvation Has No Name