“Even successful animation pros have admitted that sometimes they’ve felt relegated to “the kids’ table” on the awards circuit. But that doesn’t happen at Annecy, the world’s longest-running festival for animated films. At the French festival, legends like “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening attract rock star attention, while studio execs scout talent and directors unveil upcoming films.
“Annecy holds a special place,” says DreamWorks co-president and producer Bonnie Arnold, who premiered “How to Train Your Dragon 2” there last year. “There’s no greater pleasure than to see the response of your peers in animation.”
This year, Arnold will sit on the short film jury, which she expects will give her a glimpse of emerging talent. “So often, shorts become the launching pad for the animation directors of the future,” she says. Her role also makes Arnold part of Annecy history; for the first time in the festival’s 55-year run, the juries are comprised entirely of women.
That matters greatly to Marge Dean, co-president of Women in Animation. “Women are over half of the students in animation schools, yet they’re only 21% of the creative workforce,” she says. “We’re trying to rectify that…”