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[Annecy '19] Netflix And Gobelins Partnering On New International Programs

Netflix have been pumping an awful lot of money into animation over the past few years. However, an overwhelming majority of the stuff they produce is from American creators. This looks set to change in future, as the streaming giant has announced at this year's Annecy festival

Netflix are teaming up with Gobelins School Of Images, the prestigious Paris-based animation school to offer the Netflix Animation Fellowship. The program will select one Gobelins graduate a year who will be offered the chance to relocate to Japan and work in a post-graduate program alongside Netflix's team on original anime titles. The recipient will be announced annually at Annecy.

The first recipient will be Claire Matz. But why Japan? The decision reflects a long-standing affection for Japanese animation in France (it was popular there long before the English speaking world caught on) and the closeness of the two country's industries.  There's a long history of Japan/France co-productions."My childhood was inspired by Japanese manga and anime like the Cowboy Bebop and Neon Genesis Evangelion series," Matz says. "So I am excited to start my professional career in a country whose rich culture and long history in animation production I love."

Netflix will also be funding a four-year scholarship from across Africa to attend Gobelins. As many as ten students a year will be selected to take part in the Master of Arts in character animation and animated filmmaking. The program is intended to allow new voices a chance to tell their stories in the animation world.

Melissa Cobb, Netflix's VP of Kids and Family explained to Variety:

We realize that the pool of talent for creators we want to draw from won’t just be from the U.S. We picture ourselves five and ten years down the road having an equal number of creators doing content for us all over the world.

We really tried to think of where we were not hearing the voices of the world in animation as much as in other places, so we started with the idea of the African continent, We want to see how we can grow the talent, because the talent from that area hasn’t had access to this kind of education.

This suggests that if successful, this could lead to similar schemes in other parts of the world. Hopefully, this will just be the beginning.