Aurora's Sunrise Aurora's Sunrise

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Armenia’s Reanimania International Animation Film & Comics Art Festival of Yerevan. The region’s leading animation industry get-together, Reanimania, kicked off last night and runs through October 28.

The festival was launched in 2009 by Vrej Kassouny, who has served as its director ever since. In addition to screening major animated titles from around the world across several competition sections, the event also hosts Marani, an animation marketplace for regional and, increasingly, global artists and producers to meet and match up. Marani includes pitching sessions, one-on-one presentations, a group training workshop, and an open pitching session.

As director of the region’s flagship animation event, Kassouny is an authority on the state of Armenian animation. He says he’s recently noticed a grassroots phenomenon from young creators that is fueling significant growth in the sector. According to Kassouny:

Thanks to the new generation, Armenian animation has a unique signature. Momentum is growing, driven by the distinct perspectives of the younger generation, who think differently and are crazier, braver, and more creative. Animation production in Armenia has taken significant strides and evolved substantially. We now have numerous animation studios specializing in the production of animated short films. I am confident that in a few years, we will witness significant awards and notable achievements.

Supporting Kassouny’s claims, Armenia selected the animated feature Aurora’s Sunrise as its submission to the international feature Oscars race last year.

According to Kassouny, in the decade-and-a-half since he launched Reanimania, he has witnessed tremendous diversification across the sector, particularly in series and video game production. He told us:

A new field has emerged, with growing interest in tv series. Additionally, there are numerous studios dedicated to game development, with animation playing a crucial role in this realm… Passion and interest in the art of animation have surged, and the younger generation has become deeply immersed in this industry.

Reanimania has been a boon for the Armenian industry, but Kassouny says its impact and importance stretch far beyond the country’s borders:

This festival serves as a bridge connecting the East and West in the South Caucasus, establishing a network and a platform for regional professionals. In the realm of industry development, Marani plays a huge role. It represents an animation market that is still taking its first steps but has ambitious plans.

Highlights from this year’s program include a regionally focused Women in Animation panel and a discussion with former Disney vfx artist and executive Dave Bossert (The Lion King, Aladdin). Other key attending the event include Oscar-winning director Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), They Shot the Piano Player animation director Carlos León Sancha, and The Peasants producer Sean Bobbitt.

Reanimania 2023 Feature Competition
  • The Siren, Sepideh Farsi
  • Chicken for Linda!, Sebastien Laudenbach and Chiara Malta
  • Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, Benoit Chieux
  • They Shot the Piano Player, Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba
  • The Forest of Miss Tang, Denis Do
  • Slide, Bill Plympton

Pictured at top: Aurora’s Sunrise


Jamie Lang

Jamie Lang is the Editor-in-Chief of Cartoon Brew.

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