An Interview with Artistic Director of Annecy Animation Festival

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Film restorer, historian, and producer, <b>Serge
Bromberg</b> founded Lobster Films—the renowned Paris based
production and distribution company—22 years ago. Bromberg has shown
his talents as a TV host, pianist for silent films, and a member of the
board of the Cinemathèque Française, and—in 1999—he became Artistic
Director of the <b>Annecy International Animation Film
Festival.</b>


Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about the history of Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
Serge Bromberg: The
Annecy Festival took place for the first time in 1960, but it was held
every other year for quite a while. Now it’s an annual festival, and
this year is its 31st edition. With about 7,000 people attending the
festival, having a film market and offering the largest selection of
animated films, Annecy is now by far the first animation festival in
the world. Annecy is dedicated to all of those who love animation in
cinema, regardless of the genre of them or their year of production.
Annecy mixes shorts and feature films, TV and student shorts,
commercial films, plus a selection of productions from a specific
country (this year we profile the Benelux countries animated films),
and important retrospectives.


Bijan: How and when did you get involved with the festival?
Serge: I
was the host of the award ceremony in 1998, and after Jean-Luc Xiberras
passed away, I was appointed Artistic Director in 1999.

Bijan: What are the different categories in Annecy competition?
Serge: There are four categories: Short films, TV and commissioned films, Student films and for the first time, feature films.

Bijan: Does international
animation have a strong presence at Annecy International Animated Film
Festival? What countries are expected to participate in 2007 festival?
Serge:
Annecy is certainly a very international place during the week of the
Festival: more than 50 countries are represented, films are present
from all over the world, and even the jurors are—by more than 65%—not
French. You know, Animation has no country, it is international, and
travels much better throughout the world than live action cinema.

Bijan: Are there any international filmmakers who are guests attending the festival?
Serge: A
lot, from the members of the juries to the directors involved in the
competition, artists premiering their production in Annecy…It is hard
to name them all, but if your favorite animation star is not there this
year, either he will be there next year, or he is not animating any
longer. I cannot name one major animator who has not been in Annecy in
the recent years.


Bijan: What are the events of the festival?
Serge: World premieres galore, surprises… Just watch the program; it is impossible to list them all. Our website is www.annecy.org.

Bijan: Please tell us about the Annecy jury members.
Serge: This
year, we received 1882 submissions for festival competition. To select
the movies that end up in the festival the films are picked by
independent pre-selection committees. There is one committee per each
category and members of the pre-selection committees come from around
the world. This year our pre-selection committee members were: Short
films: Margit ANTAUER, event manage from Croatia, Virginie GUILMINOT,
production director and filmmaker from France, Carolina LOPEZ,
programmer & animator from Spain. Feature films: Bruno GAUMÉTOU,
producer from France, Lucie KALMAR, international sales from France,
Thierry SCHIEL, director from Luxembourg. TV and commissioned films:
Els KUIPER, buyer from Netherlands, Tim LEBORGNE, head of teacher from
Belgium, Emmanuèle PÉTRY, producer from France. Graduation films: Luis
BRICENO, director from France, Kim KEUKELEIRE, animator & director
from Belgium, Arnoud RIJKEN, producer from Netherlands.
Our Jury
competition for 2007 are Carlos Saldana (brasil), Joanna Quinn (UK),
Moustapha Alsassane (Nigeria), Chris Hinton (Canada), etc.


Bijan: When it comes to
animation festivals, attention goes to Annecy; do you expect that
Platform in the US is a competitor for Annecy, especially because both
festivals are held in June?
Serge: There
can be no competition to Annecy because every Festival celebrating
animation at its best is welcome. But clearly, it is rather sad that
the two events are almost simultaneous: let’s just say that this is the
chance for those who do not feel like traveling so far to enjoy
animation closer to where they live. But you know what, they’ll never
know the lake of Annecy, which makes all the difference and has become,
over the years, one of the main characters of international animation.


Bijan: Is there any focus in the festival over the new media?
Serge:
Always. Conferences, presentations, new partners, new markets, new
mediums… Annecy is a place for prospects and every year we are
presenting and celebrating new technologies and new mediums to produce
and distribute animated images all over the world. But Annecy is so
active during the week that basically all the subjects are covered by
the best specialists: there is so much to see that people attending the
festival hardly have time to breathe.
Bijan: Thank you for your time.

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About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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