Animation is celebrated each year by the lake in the French city of Annecy. Each edition is invigorating. So many passion driven individuals should they be newcomers or patrons, meet during a summery week in June.
There are a variety of ways to experience the festival: as a volunteer (with the benefit of enjoying free access to the whole festival in exchange for a few hours of work per day), as a film critic (invited to special screenings and networking luncheons), as a professional (busy going from one meeting to the next in the market at the Imperial hotel) or as a student (discovering an industry behind the animated images on the screens). Never have I felt so strongly connected to a world. It seems easy to talk to everyone and learn learn learn so much!
This special atmosphere might be triggered by the relative absence of animation stars known to the general audience. Of course animation fans all know perfectly well who Hayao Miyazaki, Bill Plympton or Richard Williams are, only to quote a sample. Still, no one could imagine a red carpet in Annecy for a grand premiere with paparazzi on both sides – at least I can’t!
Animation has techniques of art and craft. Animation as art is directly associated with cinema. But in addition the craft element is of paramount importance in the production of animated pictures. The modellers designing the puppets that will later be animated in stop-motion are craftsmen. The background artists who painted the landscapes of the film are craftsmen. So are the animators, the light artists, the visual effects designers, and so on. They are part of a team led by the director for months or years of tedious work.
When the film is out, the makers remain in the dark. The only spotlight is on the characters they built.
Ok, a few links for a sneak peek behind the scenes of: