The Annecy Experience: The Largest International Animation Festival

by Tito W. James

What Is Annecy?

The Annecy Animated Film Festival is the largest international animation festival in the world. Held every year in the city of Annecy, in southeastern France, each nation’s best and brightest cartoonists gather to promote new projects and discuss industry trends.

I had the pleasure of attending the weeklong festival last year and will be attending again this June. I will be documenting my experience for those who may be interested in attending.

Who Attends Annecy?

Animation studios, animation students, and press that specialize in animation coverage. Last year, Masaaki Yuasa, Mamoru Hosoda, Genndy Tartakovsky, Brad Bird, and Peter Ramsey were a handful of those in attendance.

What To Expect?

Expect jet-lag and plan accordingly. I try to stay at my hotel an extra day before a convention starts so my body has time to adjust to the change in time.

Annecy is by far the chillest convention I’ve ever been to. It’s a rare opportunity to eat, drink, and chat with professionals in a beautiful and relaxing environment.

While the food is of excellent quality, the eating times are later in the day. The clocks also operate on military time. All of this combined with the six-hour time difference takes getting used to.

Plugs and sockets are shaped differently in France and run on higher voltages. You will need to bring outlet adaptors to power your tech.

There’s no Lyft or Uber in Annecy (Yet). Walking everywhere is manageable but get a taxi number just in case. You don’t want to get stuck in a rainstorm after getting a poster signed by your favorite director (I know from experience).

Why Should You Follow Annecy?

There are conventions for comic and anime fandoms but there really aren’t any events that specialize in cartoons. Annecy is the first glimpse as to where the animation industry could be heading.

Now, more so than ever, cartoon fandom lasts longer than a person’s childhood years. There are many young people that dream of working as animators, voice actors, and cartoon creators.

I recall being an intern in High School and seeing an animated short called Monstera Deliciosa. Years later, I would learn that the short was produced by animation students at Gobelins animation school in France. I followed their work and it informed the esthetics I tried to emulate in my own comics and finally brought me to the Annecy Animation Festival for the first time. Animation, large or small, can take you places.

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