Animation First 2021
Friday, February 5–Monday, February 15
Entirely Online & Nationwide • Festival Pass Only $20
“One of the essential film festivals, and a must-attend for admirers of animation.” — Hyperallergic
Join us for the fourth edition of Animation First, FIAF’s wildly successful festival celebrating the artistry of French animation! Presented entirely online, the Festival will stream across the US from February 5–15, reaching its broadest audience yet.
This year, FIAF is honored to welcome special guest Wes Anderson, who has selected a few of his favorite animated films for the Festival.
The festival opens with a bang with the US premiere of Calamity Jane, a feminist western about the early life of legendary Wild West figure Martha Jane Cannary. The film’s director Rémi Chayé will join us for a special behind-the-scenes discussion.
An affordable $20 pass provides access to the entire 11-day Festival including more than 75 US and NY premieres of feature-length and short films, works in progress presentations of highly anticipated films, a new US and French student film competition, LIVE talks with acclaimed filmmakers, interactive graphic novels, augmented and virtual reality programs, and more. Films will have English subtitles and all talks will be in English.
Watch the trailer above and explore the Festival’s program below.
Learn more about the Festival here.
Purchase your $20 Festival Pass here.
Opening Night + Feature Films
Only available 7pm–midnight
Animation First opens with a bang with the US premiere of Calamity Jane, a feminist western about the early life of the legendary Wild West figure Martha Jane Cannary.
A touching tribute from one illustrator to another, this award-winning debut feature film by Le Monde cartoonist Aurel recounts a painful chapter of French history through the life of Catalonian artist Josep Bartolí.
Rémi Chayé’s first animated feature film, Long Way North, released in 2015, tells the tale of Sacha, an adventuresome young girl in late 19th-century Russia.
The creators of A Town Called Panic are back with a new film featuring Chien Pourri, a naïve and filthy dog who lives in a Parisian trash can with Chaplapla, his faithful feline friend. Both adults and children will discover Paris anew from a dog’s eye level in this charming quadrupedal adventure.
This gem by the legendary French animator Paul Grimault—based on a tale by Hans Christian Andersen—follows a shepherdess and chimney sweep on the run from a tyrannical king with some help from a talking bird. This wildly satirical and surreal masterpiece tells of the corrupting nature of power.
This essential documentary gives voice to victims of sexual violence across the globe. Using the courageous testimony of victims as well as interviews from journalists, academics, and political leaders, Zero Impunity is part of a global social impact movement to raise awareness of this vital issue.
Wes Anderson Selects
For the first time, Animation First has invited an acclaimed American filmmaker to be a special guest of the Festival: Wes Anderson, director of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs, and the forthcoming The French Dispatch. An avowed fan of animation, Anderson has selected four films that have inspired him to be shown during the Festival.
Wes Anderson’s selection of the rarely screened Hindi- and French-dubbed versions of Bambi lends a quirky twist to this classic tale. Disney’s quintessential masterpiece remains as beautiful and timely as ever, one of the first environmental films and a poignant commentary against violence.
In this stunning adaptation of Richard Adams’s eponymous novel, two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, break out of a research laboratory. Once free, they meet Tod, a cunning fox, who helps them survive in the wild.
Unlike previous animated adaptations of this classic fairy tale, director Suzie Templeton forgoes a narrator and sets Prokofiev’s beloved score in the harsh modern-day Russian countryside. Charming, beautiful, intense, and dark, Peter and the Wolf won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Animated Short.
This blast to the past based on Garry Trudeau’s popular “Doonesbury” comic strip originally aired on NBC in 1977. As Mike Doonesbury searches for meaning, he muses on gender and racial relations, Simone de Beauvoir, Margaret Mead, football, and pot smoking, bringing an unexpected profundity to the holiday primetime special.
TV Specials & Web Series
Recently orphaned, 8-year-old Violette is sent to live with her uncle Régis, who works as a groundskeeper at the Palace of Versailles. At first, Violette hates him. Régis is not keen on being her caretaker either. On the manicured grounds of Versailles and in the opulent rooms of the castle, Violette and Régis learn to trust each other.
Ages 3 & up
This heartwarming tale is set in a seaside town inspired by a lush Louisiana bayou. Born in the midst of a storm, baby owl Shooom must fend for herself and her unhatched sibling before she even leaves her nest. Against all odds, she is determined to find her mother, be it an alligator or a squirrel.
Funny, quirky, and at times cruel, this web series illustrates real-life dating mishaps, fantasies, and creepy encounters. Through these personal stories, we see traditional and new means of seduction, as well as the triumphs and pitfalls caused by apps and their algorithms.
What if 007 was a woman? This riveting series follows a journalist as she interviews the spies who penetrated top-secret government circles.
This 2013 feature adapts the best-selling graphic novels by Marguerite Abouet about three teenage friends to the screen.
This program of shorts brings together filmmakers from Ghana, Tunisia, Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burkina Faso by way of Canada, showcasing the diverse storytelling and multifaceted filmmaking techniques across the continent.
New! Student Competition
The 2021 Animation First Festival is launching a new Student Competition. It brings together emerging talents from six prestigious schools in the US and France. Five films will be selected from each one of the participating schools. The 30 entries will compete for juried awards as well as an audience award.
Shorts, Shorts, Shorts!
A selection of newly restored shorts open a window into the imagination of Paul Grimault, an icon of French animation. They showcase his trademark poetic style, exquisite colors, and wry wit.
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is the biggest animated film festival in the world. Straight from the 2020 edition, the first to be held on a virtual platform, this program of films includes a series of notable award-winning shorts.
These shorts, based on recorded audio interviews and other documents, show animation at its best. In their recounting of real events, the invisible is brought to light and the unspoken surfaces.
From enchanted worlds to coming of age themes, these shorts dazzle with an array of virtuoso techniques. Children and adults will be charmed by the use of puppets, stop motion, 2D drawings, watercolors, and pencil drawings.
Straight from France, these two eclectic programs bring together films from established filmmakers as well as emerging talents. Each one opens up a unique world such as a parallel dimension or the surprisingly sensual side of PowerPoint.
Over the course of her three-decade career in animation, Florence Miailhe has created a small but precious body of award-winning films. Her richly picturesque films often explore subjects such as femininity, the human body, and desire.
LIVE Talks and Works In Progress
Moderated by filmmaker and professor Hsiang Chin Moe
Animation First opens with a bang with the US premiere of Calamity Jane, a feminist western about the early life of the legendary Wild West figure Martha Jane Cannary. Only available on opening night, the film will be followed the next day by a special behind-the-scenes discussion with director Rémi Chayé.
Moderated by professor Richard Neupert
Meet writer-producer Claire Paoletti and director Julien Bisaro, the creative team behind Shooom’s Odyssey, a heartwarming tale about a baby owl’s search for her mother.
In this wonder-filled journey through the mind of a brilliant animator, Kristof Serrand will guide us through the paintings, films, and artists that have influenced his work. After a long and storied tenure at DreamWorks, Serrand is now at Netflix.
Anca Damian, director of 2019’s award-winning Marona’s Fantastic Tale, returns to Animation First to share her newest project, The Island, a musical comedy and “upside-down Robinson Crusoe” story set in the Mediterranean.
César Award–nominated Benoît Chieux discusses his much-anticipated feature film Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds. Two sisters embark on an unforgettable adventure when they find a secret passage and step into the extraordinary universe of their favorite book.
Moderated by filmmaker and historian John Canemaker
Illustrator, graphic novelist, and Le Monde cartoonist Aurel will speak about his first feature film, a striking homage to illustrator Josep Bartolí. He will be joined by screenwriter Jean-Louis Milesi and Bartoli’s widow Bernice Broomberg.
Go inside one of the most desirable incubators for animated film, the International Residency for Animated Films at the Royal Abbey of Fontevraud in Loire Valley, and meet a new generation of French animators.
Acclaimed artist and animator Florence Miailhe, interviewed by Dimitri Granovsky, speaks about her soon-to-be-released debut feature film, The Crossing. The highly anticipated film tells the story of two young migrants—a brother and a sister—left to fend for themselves after their parents’ arrest.
Learn to turn still images into moving pictures using a smart phone and Snapchat in this workshop with New York Tech professor Kevin Park and his graduate assistants.
A pair of interactive graphic novels will be available during the Festival: the environmental parable Phallaina, and Panama Al Brown: A Mysterious Force, the story of a once famous but now forgotten boxer from the 1930s.
Discover hidden messages in the midst of everyday life with two augmented reality projects that use smartphone technology to unlock these secret images.
A selection of five immersive virtual reality experiences transport you to rich worlds that illuminate the past, bring great works of art to life, and open up new perspectives.
Festival Lead Sponsors
The Florence Gould Foundation, The Kleinschmidt Family Foundation, and Tikehau Capital
Festival Supporting Sponsors
Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, JCDecaux, New York Tech, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Pôle Image Magelis (Angoulême), TV5Monde, and UniFrance