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Annecy Animation Film Festival Creates Non-Competitive Gala Section and New Market Division for Extended Reality Gaming Formats (EXCLUSIVE)

The Annecy Animation Film Festival, which hosts world premieres of buzzy U.S. movies each year, is set to expand its official lineup with the launch of a non-competitive section.

Called Annecy Présente, the section will give the festival the opportunity to host gala premieres of high-profile movies.

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“Annecy Présente will allow festivalgoers to discover a wider range of films from different places and genres,” said Mickaël Marin, the director of Annecy festival and its industry market MIFA.

“The vitality of the Annecy festival underscores the exceptional dynamism of the animation industry around the world — every year we see the emerging of new territories in Africa, Asia and South America,” said Marin, who noted that audiences for animation content have evolved to comprise adults. While the number of animated features being produced is lower than live-action films, their impact is powerful, Marin said — particularly in countries like France, where animated titles generate a significant chunk of export sales.

Aside from the Annecy Présente strand, the fest will continue hosting gala screenings under the section Seances Evenement, which will also be out of competition.

A leading animation showcase, Annecy ranks as one of the top five festivals in the world. The 2023 edition welcomed a record 16,000 accredited participants, including 6,000 professionals, executives and artists from nearly 100 countries. Annecy is also a hub for emerging talent. Stéphanie Clément’s short film “Pachyderme,” which competed at the festival in 2022, is nominated for an Oscar this year.

Last year, the festival shined with three anticipated U.S. world premieres, Disney’s “Once Upon A Studio,” a 100th anniversary celebratory short; DreamWorks Animation’s comedy fantasy “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”; and Netflix’s buzzy Medieval-set “Nimona.”

Marcel Jean, who has been Annecy’s artistic director for more than a decade, and Marin have been visiting U.S. studios and artists regularly to lure big pictures to Annecy. The fest has also worked closely with the AMPAS and struck up a partnership with the L.A.-based Animation Is Film Festival.

The festival’s market, MIFA, will also be widening its scope in 2024 with the creation of a division called XR & Games, dedicated to extended reality and gaming formats. As previously announced, the upcoming edition will celebrate Portugal as its country of honor. Some well-respected figures of the Portuguese film industry, including the filmmaker Fernando Glarito, who heads the animation festival in Lisbon (La Monstra), will attend Annecy as part of the event.

The Annecy festival also recently unveiled plans to build a sprawling €26 million ($27.5 million) international institute dedicated to the world of animation. Called the Cité Internationale du Cinema d’Animation, the venue is expected to launch during the second half of 2025 and will boast a 330-seat screening room, an artists’ residency, special areas for training courses and cultural action, a space for temporary exhibitions, a permanent exhibition to showcase the animation film collections from Annecy’s Musée-Château, a bookstore and a gift shop.

The 2024 edition of the Annecy Animation Film Festival and MIFA will take place June 9-15.

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