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Annecy International Animation Festival Shines The Spotlight on Mexico

The Annecy International Animation Festival is the world's biggest annual event dedicated to animation. And every year one nation is selected as the 'guest country', with the spotlight shone on their animated output. For 2023 the country in question is Mexico.

After having previously revealed the short films, commissioned and TV films, the festival has been revealing more details about the line-up for this year's host country.

""Everyone knows Guillermo del Toro, Jorge R. Gutierrez, but what do we really know about Mexican animation, which remains very little-known?" asks Marcel Jean, Annecy's Artistic Director. The festival promises to expose the world to the full variety of animation that has been produced in Mexico. "Annecy Festival 2023 will give pride of place to Mexican animation, putting it in the spotlight this year. This is why we asked Mexican programmers to provide us with an overview of this great country’s entire historical production. This will be the chance for the festivalgoers to discover many films, some of which were screened at Annecy, some were Annecy award-winners, but also others that will be screened here for the very first time."

The festival will screen a wide variety of Mexican animation across nine programs including;

  • Mexican Archeology: Back to Mexican animation’s roots, this programme highlights the experimental and historical works reflecting the multiplicity and milestones in Mexico’s animation history.
  • Guadalajara School: The birthplace of one of Mexican animation’s most iconic visuals, Guadalajara is a constant source of inspiration. Explore this inimitable vibe through a selection of works from 2001 to 2022.
  • Indigenous Mexico: The Mexican cultural tapestry is characterised by a wide variety of indigenous peoples. This programme takes us on a journey through the heritage history of these indigenous communities.
  • Urban and Suburban Tales: Through a host of different mediums, the films in this programme capture life’s essence in Mexican towns, granting us a glimpse into the beauty and complexity of Mexican urban areas.
  • Mexican TV: Television codes shift to make way for original Mexican content on the country’s small screen. This programme presents a few of the more recent shows, in particular the first animated series for TV created in Mexico in 1972.
  • Growing up Mexican: This programme looks at the films that have fascinated young Mexicans over the last few decades, both regarding their stories and the way they view children as the discerning audience that they are.
  • Mexico in Hollywood TV: This programme reveals how Mexican expertise has integrated American production.

The program illustrates Mexican animation's unique characteristics, from the techniques used to the themes of social justice. It features work from key directors including René Castillo with Down to the Bone (Hasta los huesos – 2001) winner of many Annecy Awards, and Carlos Carrera with The Hero, Palme d'Or winner for a Short Film at Cannes in 1994

The festival welcomes three Mexican filmmakers to the jury for the 2023 edition:

  • Jorge R. Gutierrez (VR Works category), a director, in particular of The Book of Life, and he designed the Festival’s official poster
  • Sofía E. Alexander(Feature Films category), an animator known for her work as Executive Producer and Creator of the show Onyx Equinox.
  • Estrella  Araiza(TV and Commissioned Films category), General Director of the Guadalajara International Film Festival.
Additionally, the Perspectives jury will be composed of three young Mexicans from Guadalajara, who will be awarding the City Of Annecy Prize to a short film.

Mexican animation screening in competition includes:

  • In the Official Short Films selection:
    Flesh of God, by Patricio Plaza (Mexico-Argentina coproduction)
    Smoke (Humo), by Rita Basulto
  • In the Off-Limits Short Films selection:
    I Can't Go on Like This by Aria Covamonas from Planet Earth, by Aria Covamonas
  • In the Perspectives Short Films selection:
    K8, by Miguel Anaya
    Shifting (Trasiego), by Amanda Woolrich (Mexico-Canada coproduction)
  • In the TV Films selection:
    Dr Gecko’s Show (El show del Dr. Gecko "Sex Gender"), by Marcos Almada Rivero
  • In the Commissioned Films selection:
    Common Seas "Blood Type: Plastic", by Diego Huacuja (USA-Mexico coproduction)

The line-up will also include two work-in-progress sessions of feature films one of which is Frankelda and the Prince of Spooks (Frankelda y el principe de los sustos) by Roy Ambriz and Arturo Ambriz.  10 teasers made by students of Gobelins Paris will have a Mexican theme.

The attached film market MIFA will also be decked out in Mexican colours. A stand will feature numerous schools and students, in particular the SAE Institute México, Escena, Coco School, ITEMS, CAAV and UNIVA. Jorge R. Gutierrez will be the MIFA Campus Patron this year and will host a masterclass on Tuesday June 13 at 9 AM.

The Annecy International Animation Festival will run from June 11-17. The Annecy International Animation Film Marker (MIFA) will run from June 13-16..