Jean-François Laguionie (Guest of Honor)
Jean-François Laguionie studied set design and theater at the Ecole de la rue Blanche. He turned his attention to animation when he joined the studio of Paul Grimault (The King and the Mockingbird, 1952) and started to make films. His first, The Young Lady and the Cellist (1965), won the Grand Prize at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The film demonstrates Laguionie’s taste for music, the ocean and nature, themes that will reappear in several of his other shorts. Rowing across the Atlantic (1978) received a César Award for Best Animated Short Film and the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 1979, he founded la Fabrique, a cooperative studio, where he created Gwen, the Book of Sand (1984), his first feature. He has since made five other films including The Painting, Louise by the Shore, and more recently, The Prince’s Voyage. All of his films are based on stories that he wrote himself, transporting the viewer into richly illustrated imaginary worlds.
2019 was an important year for the filmmaker. Following in the footsteps of previous honorees Brad Bird and Isao Takahata, Laguionie received an Honorary Cristal Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Seven of his shorts and Gwen, the Book of Sand were also restored and re-released in France, welcoming new audiences to Laguionie’s enchanting world.
Director of Notre-Dame de Paris, The Age of the Builders, Blanchard studied and taught history before becoming an award-winning author and director of documentaries, including Le Monde sous les Bombes (2017) and Après la guerre, la guerre continue (2015). In 2013, he was one of the writers of the documentary series Jews and Muslims, Intimate Strangers. In 2019, he released his first short fiction film, The Collection, to great acclaim.
Priscilla Bertin and Judith Nora
Bertin and Nora are the co-founders of independent film company Silex Films and 2D studio Silex Animation, which produced Brazen adapted from Pénélope Bagieu’s bestselling graphic novel and 2019 Eisner Prize winner. Recent TV credits include forthcoming series Stalk, the sketch show Connasse, and The Adventurers of Modern Art. Film production credits include The Parisian Bitch, Princess of Hearts (2015) and the Turkish film Passed by censor (2019). Bertin and Nora co-founded Collectif 5050 in France, following in the footsteps of TIME’S UP.
Co-director of The Swallows of Kabul, Zabou Breitman is an award-winning film, television, and theater director, as well as an actress. Since the early 1980s, she has been in more than 70 films including Coline Serreau’s La Crise (1982) and Nicolas Bedos’s Mr et Mme Handelman (2017). She directed three features, as well as the TV series Paris, etc. Recently she adapted Roland Topor’s A Winter Under the Table for the stage. The Swallows of Kabul is her first foray into animation.
Charlotte Cambon de Lavalette
Cambon de Lavalette, co-director of animated series Brazen, graduated from Gobelins School of Visual Arts in 2012 and La Poudrière in 2014. In 2015, she directed the short film Dans un petit bateau for “En sortant de l’école,” a collection of animated short films, and in 2018 she directed A (b)rief history of cheese, a film for the TED-Ed YouTube channel. The animated series Brazen, adapted from the eponymous graphic novel by Pénélope Bagieu, will air on French TV in 2020.
Producer of Mars Express, Creste worked as an assistant director for such filmmakers as Maurice Pialat and Claude Chabrol. He is currently a producer with Everybody on Deck working on both animated and live-action films. Recent producing credits include Polina (Valérie and Angelin Preljocaj), La sainte famille (Louis-Do de Lenquesaing), and the hit animated series Lastman. When he is not producing films, Creste can be found cultivating oysters near Ile d’Oléron in western France.
Director of Marona’s Fantastic Tale, Damian hails from Romania. Having studied cinematography, she has written, directed, and produced more than seven award-winning feature films, live-action and animated, each with a distinctive and innovative visual style. Her second feature, the animated Crulic – The Path To Beyond (2012), premiered at the Locarno Film Festival, screened at the New York Film Festival and SXSW and won 35 awards, including the Cristal Award at the Annecy International Animation Festival. Other directorial credits in animation include The Magic Mountain (2015) and The Call (2018) for which she received the 2016 Audentia Award for Best Female Director from Eurimages. Her latest short, The Call (2018) screened at the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.
Anik Le Ray
Anik Le Ra has worked as a writer for the animation studio La Fabrique since the 1990s. Her work includes prize-winning TV shorts Un cadeau pour Sélim, L’Oiseau Do, and Alpha Beta, among others. Her long and fruitful collaboration with Jean-François Laguionie started with A Monkey’s Tale (1999), and she went on to co-write with him Black Mor’s Island (2004), The Painting (2011), and The Prince’s Voyage (2019). She also penned the original script for Dominique Monfery’s Eleonor’s Secret (2009).
Editor of I Lost My Body (2019), Massoubre studied film editing and started his career as an assistant editor in advertising and live-action cinema. Moving on to animation, his greatest passion, he edited animated TV series and shorts such as Iron Man: Armored Adventures and Oscar’s Oasis. His feature film credits include The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (2017), Long Way North (2015), Zombillenium (2017), A Minuscule Adventure (2018) and the soon-to-be-released Little Vampire. With Alexis Ducord he is currently developing Saba, his first feature film as a director.
Lorenzo Mattotti is an accomplished illustrator, comic book artist, painter, and filmmaker. After studying architecture, Mattotti started off in the late 1970s as a comic strip artist. In 1984 he published Fuochi, which received important international prizes. He has since published over a dozen comic books, including Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (2002) for which he won a prestigious Eisner Award. His drawings are published in newspapers and magazines such as The New Yorker, Le Monde, Das Magazin, and Corriere della Sera. He has also illustrated several children’s books and his work was featured in many solo exhibitions at venues such as the Villa Manin di Passariano, the Foundation Leclerc (Landernau) and the Museo Pignatelli (Naples). Mattotti has also created advertising campaigns and posters, such as the poster for the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. In 2010, he collaborated with Lou Reed on The Raven (2012). In 2004, he created the segments between the three episodes of Eros (Wong Kar-wai, Steven Soderbergh, and Michelangelo Antonioni). In 2007, he made one episode for the animated film collection Peur(s) du noir, and he collaborated on Enzo D’Alo’s Pinnochio (2012). The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily (2019) is his first animated feature.
Phuong Mai Nguyen
Co-director of Brazen, Phuong Mai Nguyen graduated from Gobelins School of Visual Arts in 2009, and from La Poudrière in 2011. She directed several animated short films such as the award-winning My Home (Chez Moi), which was shortlisted for both the César Awards (2014) and the Academy Awards (2016). The animated series Brazen, adapted from the eponymous graphic novel by Pénélope Bagieu, will air on French TV in 2020.
Director of Mars Express, Périn graduated from Gobelins School of Visual Arts in 2000. In 2007, he co-directed the series CO2. In 2009, he made a name for himself with the music video of Truckers Delight by the band Flairs. In 2016, with the series Lastman, which he directed, he made a name for himself in adult animation in France and around the world.
Sarfati’s first project to hit the big screen was My Life Is Not a Romantic Comedy (2007), co-written with director Marc Gibaja. With Jérémie Périn, a longtime friend and collaborator, Sarfati wrote several shorts and music videos (Fantasy for Dye, Truckers Delight for Flairs, Hi-Life for Syd Matters). The successful animated series Lastman, the prequel to the eponymous manga, was a turning point in his career, allowing him and Périn to embark on their first feature film, Mars Express.
Producer of The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, Valérie Schermann is the founder and general manager of the illustrators’ agency Prima Linea, as well as Prima Linea Productions, which she co-founded in 1995 with Christophe Jankovic. Since 2013, she has been working as a producer for Page114, Jacques Audiard’s film company, and in 2015 she created 3.0 Studio, dedicated to the production of animated films. In animation, her production credits also include Fear(s) of the dark (2007) and The Red Turtle (2016).
Szlapka has been the general manager of SolidAnim since its creation in 2007. Since 2001, Szlapka has worked in motion capture in the video game, film, and television industries. He specializes in character animation by combining motion capture and keyframe. He is currently responsible for creating technical workflows for virtual production projects at SolidAnim. He oversaw the special effects of Notre-Dame de Paris, the Age of the Builders.