Flee Flee

Flee, among the most acclaimed animated features of the year, can now be streamed for free by animation professionals and students. The film has been added to The Animation Showcase, a streaming platform which makes award contenders and other content available to those in the industry.

The documentary, a Danish-French-Swedish-Norwegian co-production, is based on the testimony of Amin (a pseudonym), a gay man who fled war-torn Afghanistan as a child and is now living in Denmark. It interweaves limited animation and archive footage to tell his tale of trauma, secrecy, and shame. The film is directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, and was released theatrically in the U.S. last month by Neon and Participant.

Flee has had a terrific year, winning at Sundance, Annecy, the European Film Awards, and many critics’ awards. It has four Annie nominations, and is shortlisted for both best documentary and best international film at the Oscars. It could conceivably become the first film to be nominated in both categories and for best animated feature, too.

Benoit Berthe Siward, founder and CEO of the The Animation Showcase, says he first started paying attention to Flee when friends who worked on the film spoke highly of the experience. “It is generally a very good sign when such things happen on the film,” he tells Cartoon Brew.

He adds, “The fact the film might be worthy for awards is not the main motivation to include it in the platform. I connected with the film on a very personal level. Having myself suffered from rejection due to my sexual orientation and undergone conversion therapy in my childhood, I have a very special connection to this film that deeply resonated in me.”

Like last year, The Animation Showcase is also hosting animated shorts shortlisted for the Oscar. Fourteen of the 15 films are currently available, including Sundance winner Souvenir Souvenir, Annecy winner Affairs of the Art, Alberto Mielgo’s The Windshield Wiper, and Disney’s Us Again (which was paired with Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters).

Berthe Siward founded The Animation Showcase as a strategy agency closely involved with award campaigns. He launched the streaming platform last award season as a replacement for his touring screenings, which were canceled due to Covid. He was impressed by the response: the membership is now bigger than the combined animation branches of the Oscars and BAFTAs plus ASIFA-Hollywood’s voters for the Annie Awards, he claims.

The platform is now developing into a year-round service, with programming focused on award contenders in fall and winter, then shifting to “older but highly recognized gems in themed curated collections” in spring and summer. “The membership development strategy is now focusing to give easier access to medium and small animation studios,” Berthe Siward adds.

Those who have yet to sign up to The Animation Showcase can request to do so by heading to the Flee sign-up portal here. Flee and the shortlisted shorts will be available until nominations are announced on February 8.

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