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'Animation First' French Animation Festival Comes to New York This February

© STUDIO GHIBLI; WILD BUNCH; WHY NOT PRODUCTIONS; ARTE FRANCE CINEMA; CN4 PRODUCTIONS; BELVISION
The first ever festival dedicated to French Animation in the United States is coming to New York. Presented by The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York's premiere French cultural center, it will celebrate France's rich tradition as an animation pioneer.

Running from Friday, February 2 to Sunday, February 4, it will feature 12 New York and US premieres, featuring shorts, features, VR, video games and more for all ages. Director Michael Dudok de Wit will be the festival's guest of honor attending a screening and Q&A of The Red Turtle (co-produced by French studio Wild Bunch). Other highlights include a preview of Terry Gilliam and Tim Ollive's latest project 1884: Yesterday’s Future, a 3D screening of the family film Miniscule: Valley Of The Lost Ants, and a Q&A screening of En Sortant de l’école, a collection of animated short films inspired by the surrealist poems of Robert Desnos. Legendary actor Jean Reno. who narrates the film, will also be in attendance.

There will also be screenings of the 1973 sci-fi classic Fantastic Planet, 2016 adult action series Last Man and after dark, the festival will also feature the adults-only presentation Erotic Animation. The full schedule can be found here. The press release is below with more details.



Animation First: New York's French Animation Festival from FIAF on Vimeo.

New York, NY, January 5, 2018—Celebrating France’s rich tradition as a pioneer of animation, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, is thrilled to launch Animation First, the first-ever French animation festival in the United States, which will take place Friday, February 2 through Sunday, February 4. 
With 12 US and New York premieres, the festival presents ambitious, innovative, and award-winning animated feature and short films, virtual reality, video games, and more, coming out of France’s most exciting studios and art schools. Animation First features special screenings and events for all ages, putting audiences in the front seat of 3D animation, works in progress, interactive workshops on drawing and sound effects, gaming demonstrations, and panel discussions with leading artists and studio executives. 
The festival will present a preview of Terry Gilliam and Tim Ollive's latest project 1884: Yesterday’s Future; a rare Q&A and presentation of Oscar-nominated The Red Turtle with celebrated director Michael Dudok de Wit, the festival’s guest of honor; and the US Premiere of En sortant de l’école, a collection of animated short films inspired by the poems of surrealist author Robert Desnos. International superstar and César-nominated actor Jean Reno (Léon: The Professional), who lends his voice to The Day of the Crows (Le jour des corneilles), screening at the festival, will be in attendance for the film’s Q&A along with bestselling French novelist and festival patron Marc Levy (If Only It Were True and film adaptation Just Like Heaven).
The Opening Night celebration, for all ages, is a special 3D screening of the beloved film Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, followed by a kick-off party at FIAF. After the kids are asleep, stay for a nightcap as the festival presents Erotic Animation, where animators let their imaginations run wild. Sensual, erotic, naughty, poetic, or risqué, these fanciful and unconventional shorts celebrate passion, desire, and fantasies.
Highlights of the film program include Michel Fuzellier and Babak Payami’s feature Iqbal, a Tale of a Fearless Child (Iqbal, l’enfant qui n’avait pas peur). Inspired by the life of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani boy who became a spokesperson against child slavery, the film takes an imaginative, inspiring approach to a pressing contemporary issue; and Loulou and Other Wolves (Loulou et autres loups), a program of shorts based on the bestselling children’s book by writer and illustrator Grégoire Solotareff. Serge Elissalde, director of the short Loulou, will also be present for a Q&A after the film. Other programs include 3D Animated Short Films with 3D festival programmer and director François Serre; the classic 1973 Cannes Film Festival winning Fantastic Planet (La planète sauvage) by animation legend René Laloux; and Pioneers of French Animation, a ciné-concert with a live piano performance.
An exceptional partnership with the City of Angoulême, Grand Angoulême, Department of Charente, and Magelis will highlight the unique animation ecosystem thriving in the Aquitaine region of France. A significant number of the films in this year’s edition of the festival were produced in the region, which is home to several of France’s top-rated animation schools and studios. In collaboration with SolidAnim, a French leader in virtual production, Augmented Reality (AR) will be used in all promotional material created for the festival, which marks one of the first times AR has been conceived for a major cultural project.
Animation First is co-curated by Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF’s Film Curator, and Catherine Lamairesse, Director of Special Projects at FIAF, who said, “French animation has enjoyed increasing success worldwide in recent years, from the Oscar-nominated Triplets of Belleville to recent hits The Red Turtle and My Life as a Zucchini. With Animation First we are excited to offer New York audiences of all ages the opportunity to explore the breadth and diversity of animation in France, and discover an abundance of creativity across genres and techniques, past and present.”


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