2018 proved to be a wild year for animation of all kinds, in all formats, and on screens big and small. 2019 aims to top that. And one animation-focused festival is gearing up to kick the year off. After a wildly successful inaugural run, the second edition of French Institute Alliance Française‘s festival Animation First will be taking place January 25th-27th in New York in order to showcase the vast history, enduring ingenuity, and diversity of France’s renowned animation studios and schools.
This year’s schedule includes 17 premieres, from provocative feature-length films to exciting shorts, immersive exhibits, and video game demonstrations. Festival attendees will also be able to experience panels with filmmakers, a special spotlight on the City of Bordeaux’s animation industry, and much more. Legendary director Michel Ocelot is this year’s guest of honor, and the festival will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking film Kirikou and the Sorceress, which is set to launch the event.
Additionally, Denis Do’s Funan, which won the Cristal Award for best feature at the 2018 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, will receive its anticipated New York premiere. Animation First will also present a selection of notable and award-winning shorts from Annecy, the most prestigious animation film festival in the world, as well as a program featuring all of the animated shorts nominated for the 2019 César Award in that category. But wait, there’s more! Animation First will be screening Weekends, which was recently shortlisted for the Best Animated Short Oscar category.
Check out the trailer for FIAF Animation First 2019 festival below:
Animation First is the only film festival in the United States dedicated to French animation. Currently, France is Europe’s largest producer and the world’s third largest exporter of animated film. Since its early beginnings in the late 19th century when Émile Reynaud projected his Pantomimes Lumineuses at the Musée Grevin in Paris, the French animation industry has inspired filmmakers and artists. Their resulting experiments with puppets, cutouts, and stop motion, have been instrumental in inventing important techniques in cinema. Renowned for its stylistic innovation and an approach that integrates artisanal methods with technological ingenuity, French animation continues to garner awards worldwide and spans a diversity of genres. It is responsible for a variety of films from independent art-house successes such as Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville and Michael Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle, to those for mature audiences like Persepolis to big-budget blockbusters Ballerina to the Franco-American Despicable Me franchise.
Beyond films, France has carved out an important space in animated TV programs, web series, video games, and the rapidly developing fields of virtual reality and new technologies.
Animation First is presented by French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) whose mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.
- Michel Ocelot, trailblazing filmmaker, to be Guest of Honor
- 20th Anniversary Screening of Ocelot’s landmark film, Kirikou and the Sorceress, opens festival
- More than 17 US and NY Premieres, including Funan by Denis Do
- Works by 16 emerging and established female filmmakers
- Focus on 85 years of Pinscreen Animation through screenings, workshops, and discussions
- This year’s César-nominated films and the Best of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival anchor shorts programs
- Extraordinary shorts spanning sci-fi, suspense, documentary, erotic, humor, and more genres
- Homage to Isao Takahata of Japan’s Studio Ghibli
- Special work-in-progress presentation of The Swallows of Kabul
- Interactive exhibits illuminate worlds of virtual and augmented reality, video games, and the history of French animation
- Times Square Arts Midnight Moment features rising French filmmaker Vergine Keaton
- Partnership with City of Bordeaux shines light on its animation industry
- Panels, discussions, workshops, and much more.
For the most up-to-date program information, visit fiaf.org/animation.