Animation First 2024 Program


Festival Week
Tuesday, January 23–Sunday, January 28
In Person at FIAF

Student Short Films available online from January 29–February 12

FIAF is thrilled to celebrate the seventh edition of its popular Animation First Festival, which has expanded this year from a three-day to a six-day festival due to increased popularity, running from Tuesday, January 23 through Sunday, January 28. Animation First is the only festival in the U.S. dedicated to showcasing the enduring legacy and trailblazing innovation of French and Francophone animation.

This year, the festival presents seven feature-length films (including three U.S. and three New York premieres), six short film programs, filmmaker talks, a first look presentation, virtual reality experiences, its annual Student Short Film Competition, and more. New for 2024 will be the premiere of an inaugural limited-edition Animation First series poster illustrated by artist Peter de Sève (available for sale at Posteritati and during the festival), an Animation Speak/Easy night, a juried competition of the new Francophone shorts programs, and a special focus on animated cinema from Quebec. With films for adults, teens, and kids, the festival is crafted to engage and entertain guests of various ages!

View the complete festival program below. Films in French with English subtitles unless otherwise noted. Talks in English.

The French Institute Alliance Française, FIAF, announces the Animation First festival 2024 winners of the New Francophone Shorts and Student Film Competitions.

Best Francophone Short 2024:

The Purple Season (La saison pourpre), dir. Clémence Bouchereau
Honorable Mention: Maurice’s Bar, dir. Tom Prezman, Tzor Edery
Honorable Mention: Summer 96 (Été 96), dir. Mathilde Bédouet

The jury for the New Francophone Shorts included illustrator Marcos Chin, curator Marco de Blois, and animator Candy Kugel.

Best French Student Short:

Fire, from students at the Ecole des Nouvelles Images. Esther Lamassoure, Baptiste Fraboul, Florent Sabuco, Julie Le Forban, Valentin Serre, Léna Gittler

Best American Student Short:

The Sun is Bad, from students at SCAD. Chenrui Lan, Elle Yeung, Henry Ni, Ivan Chui, Laura Correal, Liren Sun, Quinn Marsh, Rachel Mow, Rielle Yap Ong, Samson Flanagan

Honorable Mention for American Short:

Dance with the Seashells!, from Students from Gobelins. Théo Carme, Julie Fournier, Alessandra Rosmarino, Anaëlle Saba

The Student Film Competition Jury is made up of students from the participating schools which include Gobelins, l’École de l’Image (Paris, France), RUBIKA (Valenciennes, France), Ecole des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation (Angoulême, France), École des Nouvelles Images (Avignon, France), California Institute of the Arts (California, USA), Savannah College of Art and Design (Georgia, USA), School of Visual Arts (New York, USA), and University of Southern California (California, USA).


Opening Night


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Opening Night Feature Film

Mars Express


NY Premiere
Tuesday, January 23, 2024
7pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences
Opening Night Party from 9–10:30pm
SOLD OUT
Please contact the Box Office to join the waitlist

Followed by a Q&A with Director Jérémie Périn

In the year 2200, private detective Aline Ruby and her android partner Carlos Rivera are hired by a wealthy businessman to track down a notorious hacker. Combining 2D and 3D animation, this stylish, smart, and futuristic sci-fi film noir is a cinematic adventure packed with humor and exhilarating action sequences.


Centerpiece Evening


Centerpiece Feature Film

Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds

Sirocco et le royaume des courants d’air

NY Premiere
Friday, January 26
7pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 7+
Centerpiece Night Reception from 8:30—9:45pm

Two intrepid sisters discover a secret passage from their world into that of their favorite book, The Kingdom of the Winds. This surreal, dreamlike story—helmed by French animator, screenwriter, and director Benoît Chieux—won the Audience Award at the 60th Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

SHORTS

Best of Annecy 2023


Friday, January 26, 2024
9:45pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is the largest of its kind in the world. Each year it gathers moviegoers from around the globe to discover new works by lauded filmmakers and creators. Straight from the 2023 edition and curated by the Annecy Festival team, this program includes a series of not-to-be-missed international award-winning shorts and custom opening sequences by Gobelins Paris students.


Feature Films


2024-01-AF-nina
Feature Film

Nina and the Hedgehog’s Secret

Nina et le secret du hérisson

NY Premiere
Saturday, January 27, 2024
12pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 6+

10-year-old Nina has always filled her imagination with her father’s diverting hedgehog-themed stories—but reality comes crashing down when he loses his job. Fueled by rumors of a treasure hidden at the factory, Nina, her best friend Mehdi, and an enterprising hedgehog that bursts from her father’s illustrations organize a risky heist.

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Feature Film

The Sacred Cave

La Grotte sacrée

US Premiere
Saturday, January 27
2:15pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 8+

In the heart of Africa’s equatorial forest, the king of Mabunos is poisoned by one of his subjects. Two close aids of the palace are tasked with traveling to a sacred cave in search of an antidote that will cure their ruler—and they only have seven days to succeed before he perishes. This vibrantly illustrated film from Cameroonian directors Daniel Minlo and Cyrille Masso is steeped in legend, lore, and sprawling scenescapes.

2024-01-AF-adam
Feature Film

When Adam Changes

Adam change lentement

US Premiere
Saturday, January 27
6:45pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 15+

Followed by a Q&A with director Joël Vaudreuil

Set in 1990 Quebec, the film depicts the (literal) growing pains and general absurdity of adolescence. Through a darkly comedic narrative, Canadian director Joël Vaudreuil and French animator Nicolas Moussette incisively illustrate what happens when the biting and fantastical mix with trademark teenage angst.

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Feature Film

Robot Dreams

Mon ami robot

Sunday, January 28
2pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 8+
SOLD OUT
There will be a stand-by line if any tickets are released before the start of the film

This feature animation debut by Spanish director Pablo Berger adapts American author Sara Varon’s popular graphic novel for the big screen. The story, set in 1980s New York City, follows Dog, who—tired of being alone—builds himself a robot companion. Their friendship blossoms through a touching journey of companionship, its importance, and its fragility.

AF-siren
Closing Night Feature Film

The Siren

La Sirène

US Premiere
Sunday, January 28
8:15pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Ages 14+

Festival Closing Night Party and Award Ceremony from 6:30–8pm

From acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Sepideh Farsi and celebrated French animator Zaven Najjar comes a visceral odyssey of the descent into war through the eyes of an innocent. Set in 1980 Abadan in the chaotic wake of a devastating Iraqi missile strike, the film follows 14-year-old Omid, who’s braved the siege to stay with his ailing grandfather, as he survives and resists along with others who’ve remained in the ruined city.


Shorts


ETE96
Shorts

New Francophone Shorts 1


Wednesday, January 24, 2024
7pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Age 15+

The eclectic New Francophone Shorts, NFS programs bring together the best of new animated creations from emerging and established filmmakers. Selections are chosen from lauded film festivals, and for the first time, this year’s program will be a juried competition.

The jury for the New Francophone Shorts program, including Marco Chin, Marco de Blois, and Candy Kugel, will be in attendance.

Sans objets
Shorts

National Film Board of Canada Shorts


Saturday, January 27, 2024
4:30pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences

Curated by Frédéric Savard, this program of shorts features a selection of eleven thought-provoking animated films from the National Film Board of Canada’s collection.

BestofAnnecyWTF_Cocaine Piss Cool Party
SHORTS

Best of Annecy WTF 2023


Saturday, January 27, 2024
9:45pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences

Living up to its namesake, this out-of-the-ordinary late-night program featuring the best of Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s WTF 2023 films is steeped in dark humor, scares, and irreverent subject matter that will have you exclaiming “what the f*ck?” through your tears of joy and surprised shrieks. If you’re feeling adventurous, attend this lineup of 13 short films. Recommended for ages 18 and over.

Maurice's bar
Shorts

New Francophone Shorts 2


Sunday, January 28, 2024
12pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences

The eclectic New Francophone Shorts, NFS programs bring together the best of new animated creations from emerging and established filmmakers. Selections are chosen from lauded film festivals, and for the first time, this year’s program will be a juried competition.

The jury for the New Francophone Shorts program, including Marco Chin, Marco de Blois, and Candy Kugel, will be in attendance.

Madeleine
Shorts

Cinémathèque Québécoise


Sunday, January 28, 2024
5:15pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
Recommended for Mature Audiences

Followed by a Q&A with curator Marco de Blois

Curated by La Cinémathèque québécoise animation film conservationist Marco de Blois, this selection of shorts gathers standout films from the most recent Les sommets du cinéma d’animation, Québec’s leading animation festival. Representing the wealth of Quebec and Canada’s works, these movies feature a diversity of techniques and perspectives and tap into fiction, experimental cinema, and the documentary form.


Talks


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Special Event

Animation Speak/Easy


Thursday, January 25, 2024
7:00pm
FIAF Tinker Auditorium
FREE

In English
90 min

An evening of inspiration, conversation, and drinks for movie lovers, creators, and everyone in between!

Established by NYC-based animation filmmakers, Animation Speak/Easy is bringing its popular interactive bimonthly event to this year’s Animation First Festival. At the gathering, three guest artists will be asked to share an animated short that inspires them, after which a lively audience discussion will ensue.

Artist Talk

Peter de Sève:
My Wonderful Life On The Hamster Wheel


Saturday, January 27
2pm
FIAF Skyroom
In English • 75 min
Followed by a book and poster signing

Peter de Sève guides us through the artworks and artists that have influenced his work and spurred his creative process. Peter will also be available to sign copies of his limited edition Animation First poster and books.

First Look

Allah is Not Obliged

Allah n'est pas obligé
A Conversation with Zaven Najjar

Saturday, January 27
4:30pm
FIAF Skyroom
In English • 75 min
FREE

Graphic designer and filmmaker Zaven Najjar presents Allah is Not Obliged (Allah n’est pas obligé), his first feature film based on the eponymous international bestseller by Ivory Coast author Ahmadou Kourouma

First Look

Eugène

Eugène, le mystère Falleni
A Conversation with Anaïs Caura

Sunday, January 28
1:30pm
FIAF Skyroom
In English • 75 min
FREE

Discover director Anaïs Caura’s latest work in progress, the Life of Eugène Falleni, or Eugène. Caura will discuss her interest in this real-life story and her graphic and narrative choices. Eugène relays the story of Eugène Falleni, an Italian-Australian transgender man convicted of the 1917 murder of his wife, and scrutinized for his identity.

Artist Talk

Misery Loves Comedy:
Focus on Janet Perlman


Sunday, January 28
3:45pm
FIAF Skyroom
In English • 75 min
FREE

Join award-winning filmmaker Janet Perlman as she screens a collection of her short films, followed by a lively discussion about her creations and inspirations.

Professional Development Panel

Confluence of Creativity: Exploring Art, Narratives and Technologies


Thursday, January 25
4:30pm
FIAF Skyroom
In English • 75 min
FREE

French in Motion, FIAF and Villa Albertine present a special panel: Confluence of Creativity: Exploring Art, Narratives, and Technologies.


Animation Jam



Student Competition


Animation Jam


Friday, January 26–Sunday, January 28, 2024
In Person / Online

Monday, January 29–Monday, February 12, 2024
Online on Eventive

Animation Jam returns for a second year! Students from the BRASSART School in France and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore will be given 48 hours to complete an animation sequence inspired by the festival’s opening night film, Jérémie Périn’s Mars Express. The final sequences will be screened at the closing night and made available online.

US & French Student Short Film Competition


Award Ceremony
Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 8:15pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall
On Demand
Monday, January 29–Monday, February 12, 2024
Online on Eventive
Recommended for Mature Audiences

Back for a fourth year, the Animation First Student Short Film Competition highlights the work of emerging talent from some of the most renowned animation schools in France and the United States. Prizes are awarded for Best French Student Shorts and Best American Student Shorts.


Virtual Reality


Exhibition

Virtual Reality


Thursday, January 25–Sunday, January 28
Thu & Fri: 5pm–7pm
Sat & Sun: 11am–6pm
FIAF Haskell Library
FREE

Throughout the festival, the FIAF Library will be free and open to the public for augmented and virtual reality experiences from French studios and distributors.

Festival Supporting Sponsors

Québec Government Office in New York, School of Visual Arts (SVA), Toon Boom Animation, Villa Albertine, and UniFrance

Animation First 2024 is curated by Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF Film Curator, and Chloé Dheu, FIAF Assistant Film Programmer.