"Josep" by Le Monde cartoonist Aurel
“Josep” by Le Monde cartoonist Aurel

The fourth edition of Animation First, the only film festival in the US dedicated to France’s animation studios and schools presented by the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) will take place entirely online from Friday, February 5 to Monday, February 15, 2021.

This year’s Festival will showcase 55 US and 14 NY premieres of feature-length and short films including the debuts of Josep; Stinky Dog, Happy Life in Paris!; Shoom’s Odyssey; and Zero Impunity. Wes Anderson, this year’s special guest, has added four animated films that have inspired him to the program.

FIAF President Marie-Monique Steckel said: “This year’s Animation First promises to be the richest in the Festival’s history. We are delighted to have so many exciting new films, cult classics, and our first American special guest, Wes Anderson. It’s particularly gratifying to offer, across the United States, at a very affordable price, the chance to discover the amazing world of French animation.”


Josep, the award-winning debut feature by Le Monde cartoonist Aurel, makes its US premiere at the Festival. It paints a sensitive portrait of the Catalonian illustrator Josep Bartolí who fled Franco’s regime only to be sent to a French refugee camp. Aurel will speak about finding inspiration in Bartoli’s life and art in a conversation with screenwriter Jean-Louis Milesi and Bartolí’s widow Bernice Broomberg on Thursday, February 11 at 6:30pm

The second feature to make its US premiere is the family friendly Stinky Dog, Happy Life in Paris! (Chien pourri, la vie à Paris!). Based on the popular Chien Pourri books, it follows the adventures of a smelly mutt who lives in a Parisian garbage can.

In a more serious vein is the NY premiere of the crucial documentary Zero Impunity by brothers Stéphane Hueber-Blies and Nicolas Blies. This powerful film gives voice to the victims of sexual violence around the world and those who have dedicated their lives to fighting it. FIAF is proud to present this film and take part in its broader social impact movement to raise awareness of this vital issue.

For the first time, Animation First has invited an acclaimed American filmmaker to be a special guest of the Festival: Wes Anderson, director of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs, and the forthcoming The French Dispatch. An avowed fan of animation, Anderson has selected four films that have inspired him to be shown during the Festival.

At the top of his list is Disney’s 1942 Bambi shown in an unusual presentation in both Hindi and French. It will be available during the closing weekend of the Festival. The rest of films will be available throughout Animation First. The Plague Dogs (1982), an adaptation of Richard Adams’s novel about two escaped lab dogs who may be spreading a deadly disease, finds renewed relevance in our current moment. Though produced outside of France, the two short films A Doonsbury Special (1977) and Peter and the Wolf (2006) were both buoyed to Academy Award nominations after receiving accolades at the Cannes and Annecy festivals, respectively.

France’s celebrated animator Paul Grimault (1905–1994) is given a special tribute with a screening of his cult classic, The King and the Mockingbird (Le Roi et l’Oiseau). Featuring a screenplay by Jacques Prévert, this satirical masterpiece is an allegory about the nature of power. It is also credited with inspiring legendary Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata to found the famed Studio Ghibli. A newly restored program of Grimault’s shorts—eight gems produced from 1942 to 1973—provides rare insight into the development of his trademark style and his increasingly political themes leading up to 1980’s The King and the Mockingbird.

The 2021 Animation First Festival launches a new Student Competition. It brings together emerging talents from six prestigious schools in the US and France. Five films will be selected from each one of the participating schools—CalArts (California), Ringling School of Art and Design (Florida), SVA (New York), EMCA (Angoulême, France), Gobelins, l’École de l’Image (Paris), and RUBIKA (Valenciennes, France). The 30 entries will compete for juried awards as well as an audience award.

2021 Animation First Festival Lineup

FEATURE FILMS

US PREMIERE: JOSEP
Dir. Aurel, 2020, 72 minutes
In French, Spanish, Catalan, English with English subtitles
Mature Audiences

A touching tribute from one illustrator to another, this award-winning debut feature film by Le Monde cartoonist Aurel recounts a painful chapter of French history through the life of Catalonian artist Josep Bartolí. During the Spanish Civil War, Bartolí, an anti-Franco activist, 5 fled across the Pyrénées in hopes of finding freedom in France. However, French police
captured and held him in a series of refugee camps. Drawing on Bartolí’s evocative sketches, Aurel paints an impressionistic and sensitive portrait of the artist in stark contrast to life within the brutal camps, as well as the redeeming humanity of a sympathetic gendarme who helped him escape. A talk with Aurel, screenwriter Jean-Louis Milesi, and Bartolí’s widow Bernice
Broomberg will take place on Thursday, Februray 11 at 6:30pm (see LIVE PROGRAMS for more information).

THE KING AND THE MOCKINGBIRD (LE ROI ET L’OISEAU)
Dir. Paul Grimault, 1980, 87 minutes
In French with English subtitles
Ages 8 and up

This gem by the legendary French animator Paul Grimault took 30 years to make and then another 34 years to be released in the US. Featuring a script by Jacques Prévert—which is based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen—it follows a shepherdess and chimney sweep on the run from a tyrannical king with some help from a talking bird. This wildly satirical and surreal
masterpiece also tells of the corrupting nature of power. Grimault’s masterpiece is a cult classic and is credited with inspiring the celebrated Japanese animators Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata to found Studio Ghibli. It also finds resonance in later films such as Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant.

US PREMIERE: STINKY DOG, HAPPY LIFE IN PARIS! (CHIEN POURRI, LA VIE À PARIS!)
Dir. Stéphane Aubier, Davy Durand, Vincent Patar; 2020; 60 min
In English
Ages 4 and up

The creators of A Town Called Panic are back with a new film featuring Chien Pourri, a naïve and filthy dog who lives in a Parisian trash can with Chaplapla, his faithful feline friend. Though Chien Pourri suffers one misadventure after another, he always manages to land on his four
paws. In this film, based upon the eponymous best-selling graphic novel, Chien Pourri finds himself in a series of sticky situations. Both adults and children will discover Paris anew from a dog’s eye level in this charming quadrupedal adventure.

NY PREMIERE: ZERO IMPUNITY
Dir. Stéphane Hueber-Blies and Nicolas Blies, 2019, 95 min
In English, Arabic, Ukrainian, French with English subtitles
Mature Audiences

This essential documentary gives voice to victims of sexual violence across the globe. Focusing on the horrors of wartime rape—particularly in Syria, the Ukraine, Africa, and in the US—it 6 exposes the fact that sexual violence and its perpetrators have been largely left unpunished by the international community. Using the courageous testimony of victims as well as interviews
from journalists, academics, and political leaders, Zero Impunity is a powerful document. FIAF is proud to present this film and take part in its social impact movement to raise awareness of this vital issue.

WES ANDERSON SELECTS

Wes Anderson is the director of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs, and the forthcoming feature The French Dispatch, among many others.

BAMBI
Available Friday, February 12 at 6pm to Sunday, February 14 at 6pm
Dir. David Hand, 1942, 68 min
In Hindi or French with English subtitles
Ages 5 and up

Wes Anderson’s selection of the rarely screened Hindi- and French-dubbed versions of Bambi lends a quirky twist to this classic tale. Disney’s quintessential masterpiece was adapted from the original English into Hindi- and French-dubbed versions in the mid-1940s. For the Hindi version, a new score was also created. Due to the Indian government’s scrutiny of foreign-produced films at the time, it wasn’t released. However, it was screened in Hollywood and won a Special Achievement Award at the 1948 Golden Globes. Created under the close supervision of Walt Disney himself, Bambi’s aesthetic approach veered from Disney’s trademark style to embrace a more realistic depiction of animal characters and their natural movements, as well as their richly layered forest habitat. An enormous undertaking at the time, Bambi remains as beautiful and timely as ever, one of the first environmental films and a poignant commentary against violence.

THE PLAGUE DOGS
Dir. Martin Rosen, 1982, 86 min
In English
Ages 10 and up

In this stunning adaptation of Richard Adams’s eponymous novel, two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, break out of a research laboratory where they are repeatedly abused for testing purposes. Once free, they meet Tod, a cunning fox, who helps them survive in the wild. Though the lab director tries to keep the escape quiet, an increasing number of sheep are discovered dead and rumors that the dogs are carrying the bubonic plague start to spread. From Martin Rosen, director of Watership Down, The Plague Dogs features the voices of John Hurt, Christopher Benjamin, and Nigel Hawthorne

A DOONESBURY SPECIAL
Dir. Garry Trudeau, 1977, 26 min
In English
Mature Audiences

This blast to the past based on Garry Trudeau’s popular “Doonesbury” comic strip originally aired on NBC in 1977. Along with filmmakers Faith and John Hubley, Trudeau pondered an important question of the day: Do you sell out your idealism and your thirst for political and social change as you grow older? Or more specifically, do you stop building a commune to build a condo? As Mike Doonesbury searches for meaning, he muses on gender and racial relations, Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Mead, football, and pot smoking, bringing an unexpected profundity to the holiday primetime special. Trudeau’s efforts were recognized. A Doonesbury
Special won a Special Jury Award at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar in 1978.

PETER AND THE WOLF
Dir. Suzie Templeton, 2006, 29 min
No dialogue
Ages 8 and up

Unlike previous animated adaptations of this classic fairy tale, director Suzie Templeton forgoes a narrator and sets Prokofiev’s beloved score in the harsh modern-day Russian countryside. Against this strikingly stark background, Templeton’s vibrant puppets come to life—a playful
bird, tottering duck, mischievous cat, the fearsome wolf, as well as the sensitive Peter and his grandfather. Charming, beautiful, intense, and dark, Peter and the Wolf won both the 2007 Academy Award for Best Animated Short and the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

STUDENT COMPETITION

New US & French Student Short Film Competition & Screening Programs

This new competition showcases the work of emerging talents from some of the most renowned animation schools in the United States and France: CalArts (California), Ringling School of Art and Design (Florida), SVA (New York), EMCA (Angoulême, France), Gobelins, l’École de l’Image (Paris, France), and RUBIKA (Valenciennes, France). Each school selected five
graduation films from the class of 2020 for the inaugural Animation First Student Shorts Competition. All the student films will be available to screen throughout the Festival in two programs—one featuring the American films and the other featuring the French ones.

Acclaimed filmmaker Kristof Serrand (The Prince of Egypt, Kung Fu Panda, and Abominable), formerly of Dreamworks and currently Netflix’s Character Animation Manager for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, will preside over the jury that will also include two students from each of
the schools. The jury will award prizes to the Best French Film and Best American Film, and the 8 audience will be able to vote on its favorite film overall. Winners will receive a one-on-one session with Serrand to discuss their work and receive valuable advice. All three awards will be
presented during a special live ceremony on Sunday, February 14.

SHORTS PROGRAMS

THE ANIMATED WORLD OF PAUL GRIMAULT
79 minutes
All Ages

These newly restored shorts, made between 1942 and 1973 and shown in chronological order, open a window into the imagination of Paul Grimault, an icon of French animation. The program includes the gem “The Little Soldier,” winner of the 1948 Venice International Film Festival’s
International Award for Animated Film. While his shorts became increasingly political, they all retain his trademark poetic style, exquisite colors, and wry wit. This body of work foreshadows his 1980 masterpiece, The King and the Mockingbird, also available to screen at the Festival.

• “The Note Seller” (“Le Marchand de notes”), 1942, 10 min
• “The Passengers of the Great Bear” (“Les Passagers de la Grande Ourse”), 1943, 9 min
• “The Scarecrow” (“L’Épouvantail”), 1946, 10 min
• “The Lightning Rod Thief” (“Le Voleur de paratonnerres”), 1946, 10 min
• “The Magic Flute” (“La Flûte magique”), 1946, 9 min
• “The Little Soldier” (“Le Petit Soldat”), 1948, 11 min
• “The Diamond” (“Le Diamant”), 1970, 9 min
• “The Dog Who Loved Music” (“Le Chien mélomane”), 1973, 11 min

BEST OF 2020 ANNECY FILM FESTIVAL
74 minutes
Mature Audiences

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is the biggest animated film festival in the world. It annually brings animation lovers from around the globe to discover the latest animated gems, current and future trends, and meet filmmakers and creators. Straight from the 2020 edition, the first to be held on a virtual platform, this program of films includes a series of notable award-winning shorts such as Genius Loci (2021 César short list). They are bookended by two tailor-made sequences created by second-year students from Gobelins, l’École de l’Image (Paris).

• “Awoko 70’s,” Dir. Rose Gallerand, Caroline Leibel, Faustine Merle, Claire Pellet, May Taraud, Chloé Van Becelaere; 2020; 1 min
• “Wade” (“La Noyade”), Dir. Upamanyu Bhattacharyya, Kalp Sanghvi ; 2019; 11 min
• “Genius Loci,” Dir. Adrien Mérigeau, 2019, 16 min
• “Pile,” Dir. Toby Auberg, 2019, 3 min
• “Homeless Home,” Dir. Alberto Vazquez Rico, 2020, 15 min
• “Physics of Sorrow” (“Physique de la tristesse”), Dir. Theodore Ushev, 2019, 27 min
• “Kinshasa 2100,” Florian De Chelle, Marine Corbineau, Valentin Giuili, Armand Goxe, Marin Inbona, Alexis Maurice, Tom Rameaux, 2020, 1 min

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
64 minutes
Mature Audiences

These shorts, based on recorded audio interviews and other documents, show animation at its best. They transport us into psychiatric hospitals, along a migration route, and into the head of a young child with deft humor and poignancy. In their recounting of real events, the invisible is brought to light and the unspoken surfaces.

• “Esperança,” Dir. Cécile Rousset, Jeanne Paturle, Benjamin Serero; 2019; 5 min
• “Mild wildness, Lasting Lunacy” (“Folie douce, folie dure”), Dir. Marine Laclotte, 2020, 18 min
• “And yet we are not super-heroes” (“On est pas près d’être des supers héros”), Dir. Lia Bertels, 2019, 13 min
• “Exuvie,” Dir. Antoine François, Ornella Hildevert, Camille Ringuet, Adèle de Girval, Anaïs Crowyn, Ceridwen Bizeul, 2019, 4 min
• “Richie,” Dir. Romane Granger, 2019, 8 min
• “5 Years After the War” (“5 ans après la guerre”), Dir. Samuel Albaric, Martin Wiklund, Ulysse Lefort, 2017, 16 min

FAMILY FRIENDLY SHORTS
80 minutes
Ages from 3 to 9 and up

From enchanted worlds to coming of age themes, these shorts dazzle with an array of virtuoso techniques. Children and adults will be charmed by the use of puppets, stop motion, 2D drawings, watercolors, and pencil drawings.

• “Melting Heartcake” (“Cœur fondant”), Dir. Benoît Chieux, 2019, 11 min, ages 3+
• “The Atelier” (“L’atelier), Dir. Bianca Mansani, 2019, 4 min, ages 3+
• “Nature,” Dir. Isis Leterrier, 2019, 3 min, ages 3+
• “Northern Lights“ (“Au pays de l’aurore boréale”), Dir. Caroline Attia, 2019, 15 min, ages 4+
• “The Last Day of Autumn” (“Le dernier jour d’automne”), Dir. Marjolaine Perreten, 2019, 8 min, ages 4+
• “Louis’ shoes” (“Les chaussures de Louis”), Dir. Marion Philippe, Kayu Leung, Theo Jamin, Jean Geraud Blanc; 2020; 5 min; ages 8+
• “The Breakaway” (“L’échappée”), Dir. Benoît Michelet, 2019, 7 min, ages 8+
• “We’re Taking Bernie to Grandpa” (“On va ramener Bernie chez Papi”), Dir. Arielle Besse, Shiuan-An Lin, Lilamirana Rokatoson, 2020, 5 min, ages 8+
• “TommeLise et l’Ogre,” Dir. Cécile Robineau, 2018, 8 min, ages 8+
• “Sheep, Wolf and A Cup Of Tea…” (“Moutons, loup et tasse de thé…”), Dir. Marion Lacourt, 2019, 12 min, ages 9+
• “Un diable dans la poche,” Dir. Antoine Bonnet, Mathilde Loubes; 2019; 5 min: ages 9+

NEW FRENCH SHORTS
Mature Audiences

Straight from France, these two eclectic programs bring together films from established filmmakers as well as emerging talents. Each one opens up a unique world such as a parallel dimension or the surprisingly sensual side of PowerPoint.

Program 1
92 min
• “Disoriented” (“À l’ouest”), Dir. Jérémie Cousin, 2019, 4 min 7 s
• “To the dusty sea” (“A la mer poussiere”), Dir. Héloïse Ferlay, 2020, 12 min 25 s
• “When We Leave” (“Cuando nos vamos”), Dir. Mitchelle Tamariz, 2019, 4 min 3 s
• “Trona Pinnacles,” Dir. Mathilde Parquet, 2020, 13 min 23 s
• “The song of the Angel-Fish” (“Le Chant des poissons-anges”), Louison Wary, 2019, 6 min 49 s
• “Purpleboy,” Dir. Alexandre Siqueira, 2019, 13 min 55 s
• “Precious” (“Précieux”), Dir. Paul Mas, 2020, 14 min
• “Souvenir Souvenir,” Dir. Bastien Dubois, 2020, 15 min 10 s
• “Inès,” Dir. Elodie Dermange, 2019, 4 min 7 s
• “Airhead!” (“Tête de linotte !”), Dir. Gaspar Chabaud, 2019, 5 min 42 s

Program 2
105 min
• “Rivages,” Dir. Sophie Racine, 2020, 8 min 21 s
• “Tadpole” (“Tétard”), Dir. Jean-Claude Rozec, 2019, 13 min
• “Windshriek” (“Hurlevent”), Dir. Frédéric Doazan, 2019, 6 min
• “Artifice,” Dir. Judicaël Ceva, Adrien Douay, Coline Della Siega, Coraline Hun et Diana Lao; 2019; 3 min 40 s
• “Average Happiness,” Dir. Maja Gehrig, 2019, 7 min 05 s
• “Flow,” Dir. Adriaan Lokman, 2019, 13 min 45 s
• “Boriya,” Dir. Min Sung Ah, 2019, 16 min
• “Traces,” Dir. Hugo Frassetto, Sophie Tavert Macian; 2019; 13 min
• “Machini,” Dir. Frank Mukunday, Trésor Tshibangu; 2019; 9 min 47 s
• “Sous la canopée,” Dir. Bastien Dupriez, 2019, 6 min 38 s
• “Empty Places,”Dir. Geoffroy de Crécy, 2020, 8 min 30 s
• “X.Y.U.,”Dir. Donato Sansone, 2019, 1 min 3 s

SPOTLIGHT ON FLORENCE MIAILHE
85 minutes
Mature Audiences

Over the course of her three-decade career in animation, Florence Miailhe has created a small but precious body of award-winning films. A painter as well, her artistry shows through trademark techniques of using pastels or hand-painting each frame. Her richly picturesque films often explore subjects such as femininity, the human body, and desire. Miailhe has also
employed less conventional methods in her animation such as using sand as a medium in Méandres, and creating the lyrical 25 passage des oiseaux on the pinscreen instrument, an 80-year-old technique that was featured during Animation First 2019. Miailhe will also discuss her upcoming feature, The Crossing, in a special work-in-progress (see TAPED PROGRAMS for more information).

• “A Summer Night Rendez-Vous” (“Au premier dimanche d’août”), 2000,11 min
• “Urban Tale” (“Conte de quartier”), 2006, 15 min
• “Hammam,” 1991, 8 min
• “Texture of Dreams” (“Matières à rêver”), 2006, 6 min
• “Meanders” (“Méandres”), 2013, 23 min
• “Schéhérazade,” 1995, 16 min
• “25 passage des oiseaux,” 2016, 4 min

TV SPECIALS

MY LIFE IN VERSAILLES (LA VIE DE CHÂTEAU)
Dir. Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat, Nathaniel H’Limi, 2020, 29 min
In French with English subtitles
Ages 8 and up

Recently orphaned, 8-year-old Violette is sent to live with her uncle Régis, who works as a groundskeeper at the Palace of Versailles. At first, Violette hates him. She thinks he stinks, and she keeps running away. Régis is not keen on being her caretaker either. He lives in a dirty cottage tucked away in the Sun King’s gardens and was long estranged from his sister, 12
Violette’s mom. On the manicured grounds of Versailles and in the opulent rooms of the castle, Violette and Régis learn to trust each other

SHOOOM’S ODYSSEY (L’ODYSSÉE DE CHOUM)
Dir. Julien Bisaro, 2019, 26 min
In French with English subtitles
Ages 3 and up

Born in the bayou in the midst of a storm, baby owl Shooom must fend for herself and her unhatched sibling before she even leaves her nest. Against all odds, she is determined to find her mother, be it an alligator or a squirrel. As she embarks on this dangerous journey through the mangroves, she encounters a series of wild animals before falling in with Walter and Rosie—two children determined to save her. This heartwarming film received the Crystal Award for TV production at the 2020 Annecy International Animated Film Festival and was short-listed for a 2021 César Award. Filmmakers Claire Paoletti & Julien Bisaro will discuss the film in a talk on Sunday, February 7 (see LIVE PROGRAMS for more information).

WEB SERIES

FAIL IN LOVE (L’AMOUR A SES RÉSEAUX)
Dir. Cécile Rousset & Romain Blanc-Tailleur, 2019, five 4-min episodes
In French with English subtitles
Mature Audiences

Funny, quirky, and at times cruel, this web series illustrates real-life dating mishaps, fantasies, and creepy encounters. Through these personal stories, we see traditional and new means of seduction, as well as the triumphs and pitfalls caused by apps and their algorithms. Five episodes of L’Amour a ses réseaux (which translates literally to “love has its networks”) will be available. The series was adapted from the column “Tinder Surprise” for French news website Rue89 and originally aired on Franco-German television channel Arte. Episodes include: “Prince and Princesses,” “Bite on the Side” (“Petit Piment”), “Under the Moonlight” (“Sonate au clair de lune”), “Homo Habitus,” and “Mazel Tov.”

WOMEN UNDERCOVER (LES ESPIONNES RACONTENT)
Dir. Aurélie Pollet, 2018, three 6-min episodes
In French with English subtitles
Ages 13 and up

What if 007 was a woman? This riveting series follows a journalist as she interviews the spies who penetrated top-secret government circles. The three episodes included here expose the undercover experiences of Moscow-based Geneviève (“A Russian List for the DST”); Martha
from Panama (“14 Days to Flush Out Noriega”), and Yola in Tel Aviv (“The Mossad Hotel”).

LIVE PROGRAMS: WORKSHOPS, TALKS, & WORKS IN PROGRESS

(In chronological order)

Saturday, February 6 at 4pm
FREE WORKSHOP: Create Your Own Augmented Reality with NYIT
In English

Learn to turn still images into moving pictures using a smart phone and Snapchat in this workshop with NYIT professor Kevin Park and his graduate assistants. Before you dive in to the world of augmented reality, Park will explain the history and process behind this exciting technology that brings new dimensions to existing objects and pictures. Then you’ll be given the tools to do it yourself.

Sunday, February 7 at 2pm
TALK: SHOOOM’S ODYSSEY
With filmmakers Claire Paoletti & Julien Bisaro
In English
All Ages

Meet writer-producer Claire Paoletti and director Julien Bisaro, the creative team behind Shooom’s Odyssey, a heartwarming tale about a baby owl’s search for her mother. The pair will talk about their creative process, their inspiration from the natural world, and the ins and outs of animating the Louisiana bayou. Children are welcome to attend and ask questions, while adults are invited to dig deeper into the process with its creators. Paoletti wrote the script of the awardwinning Long Way North (Rémy Chayé, 2015). Bisaro worked on features including The Painting (Jean-François Laguioni, 2011) and directed Bang Bang! (2014), which won the Best Short Film prize at the Tokyo Anime Award.

Sunday, February 7 at 4pm
TALK: Kristof Serrand’s Cabinet of Curiosities
With filmmaker Kristof Serrand
In English

In this wonder-filled journey through the mind of a brilliant animator, Kristof Serrand will guide us through the paintings, films, and artists that have influenced his work, uncovering the sources of inspiration that help him breathe life into his characters. Trained at Paris’s Beaux-Arts and
Gobelins animation school, Serrand grew his passion for animation out of his never-ending curiosity for the arts in all of their forms. His rich career began in the studios of France’s most celebrated filmmakers, including Paul Grimault (The King and the Mockingbird) and René Laloux (Fantastic Planet), before taking him to a long tenure at DreamWorks and now to Netflix, where he is currently Character Animation Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Tuesday, February 9 at 6:30pm
WORK IN PROGRESS: THE ISLAND (L’ILE)
With director Anca Damian
In English

After receiving raves and awards for her wildly original animated feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale, Anca Damian went to the Mediterranean for her next film, The Island. She describes her new project as a musical comedy and “upside-down Robinson Crusoe” story mixed with elements of The Little Prince and Monty Python. However, this update of Daniel Defoe’s classic novel addresses Europe’s present-day refugee crisis, enveloping the viewer through augmented reality-like technology. In this work in progress, Damian will talk about her writing process, her rich mixed-media approach to the material, and her collaboration with the Romanian avantgarde Balanescu Quartet to create an entirely original score.

Wednesday, February 10 at 6:30pm
WORK IN PROGRESS: SIROCCO AND THE KINGDOM OF THE WINDS
With director/creator Benoît Chieux
In English

In this work in progress, César Award–nominated Benoît Chieux discusses his much-anticipated Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, sharing clips and images of the upcoming feature. In Sirocco, Juliette and Carmen, two intrepid sisters, discover a passage between their world and the extraordinary universe of their favorite book, The Kingdom of the Winds. As they enter a magical realm populated by strange creatures, the sisters embark on an unforgettable adventure. The colorful and imaginative feature is penned by Oscar-nominated Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris, Phantom Boy) and produced by Ron Dyens of Sacrebleu Productions. Chieux’s latest short, Melting Heartcake (2019), will be screening during the Festival as part of the Family Friendly Shorts program.

Thursday, February 11 at 6:30pm
TALK: JOSEP
With Aurel, Jean-Louis Milesi, and Bernice Broomberg
In English

Illustrator and graphic novelist Aurel illuminates the process behind his first feature film, a striking homage to another illustrator, Josep Bartolí. Using clips and images, he will share how he became interested in the Retirada, a dark period of history during which 450,000 Spanish republicans fled to France in 1939, and how he discovered Bartoli’s biting drawings. Along with screenwriter Jean-Louis Milesi, they will discuss the challenges of turning this material into an animated film, delving into their choices in writing the script to selecting color palettes to focusing on different periods in Bartolí’s life. They will be joined by Bernice Broomberg, who was married to Bartoli until his death in 1995. Over the years, Ms. Broomberg has kept Bartolí’s work 15 alive and safeguarded his drawings—vivid testimony of his life as an illustrator caught in one of the 20th century’s most brutal conflicts.

TAPED PROGRAMS
Available Friday, February 5 to Monday, February 15

WORK IN PROGRESS: THE CROSSING (LA TRAVERSÉE)
With director Florence Miailhe
In English

The Crossing (La Traversée) is the first feature by acclaimed filmmaker Florence Miailhe. Her short films, many of which will be screened during Animation First, received a César Award in 2002, a special mention at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, and a Crystal Award at the 2015 Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The highly anticipated film tells the story of two young migrants—a brother and a sister—left to fend for themselves after their parents’ arrest. Miaihle will be interviewed by Dimitri Granovsky, a veteran moderator at the Annecy International Film Festival.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Fontevraud Residency
With alumni of the International Residency for Animated Films
In English

Go inside one of the most desirable incubators for animated film, the International Residency for Animated Films at the Royal Abbey in Fontevraud. Each year, with a special emphasis on supporting young authors, the program brings authors and directors to the Loire Valley where
they can nurture new projects. This work in progress showcases a new generation of French animators who will present their work and discuss what they accomplished at Fontevraud, from script development to animation techniques.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC NOVELS, AUGMENTED REALITY, & VIRTUAL REALITY
Programmed by Emma Buttin, New Media Officer at the Cultural Services of the Embassy of
France in the United States

Interactive Graphic Novels: Phallaina & Panama Al Brown: A Mysterious Force In conjunction with Animation First, this pair of interactive graphic novels will be available during the Festival. Created in 2017, Phallaina is the first scrolling graphic novel for smartphone and tablet. An environmental parable, it describes a world where cities are built on stilts to adapt to
the rising waters. Meanwhile Panama Al Brown: A Mysterious Force shines a light on the once famous but now forgotten boxer from the 1930s. Originally from Panama, he found fame in New York City before moving to Paris.

Virtual Reality
Explore the great cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the prehistoric murals in the caves of Chauvet, a Goya masterpiece, and the mind of a 16-year-old soccer player. These five immersive virtual reality experiences—Notre-Dame de Paris: Journey Back In Time, Pompeii, The Dawn of Art, Saturnism, and Goodbye, Mr. Octopus—transport you to rich worlds that illuminate the past, bring great works of art to life, and open up new perspectives.

Augmented Reality
Discover hidden messages in the midst of everyday life with two augmented reality projects that use smartphone technology to unlock these secret images. My Own Personal Assistant (MOA), based on Alain Damasio’s 2019 novel Les Furtifs, transforms our reality to the 2040 of the author’s imagination. Continuing Animation First’s longstanding relationship with the École des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation (EMCA), the Festival will also present a selection of student projects.

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