Animation First REWIND
Week Five: A Salute to Our Guests of Honor

Starting Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Over three years of the Animation First festival, FIAF has honored three extraordinary pioneers of French Animation: Michael Dudok de Wit, Michel Ocelot, and Jean-François Laguionie. Rediscover some of their most iconic works!

Michael Dudok de Wit: The Monk and the Fish and The Red Turtle

Our very first Guest of Honor, Michael Dudok de Wit, received an Academy Award nomination for his beautiful short The Monk and the Fish and is known for his acclaimed debut feature film The Red Turtle.

The Monk and the Fish
1994. 6 min 20 sec. Color. No dialogue.

A plump monk develops an unusual relationship with an elusive fish in director Michael Dudok de Wit’s exuberant and lyrical tale about the secret of getting what you want.

The Red Turtle
2016. 80 min. Color. No dialogue.
Ages 8+

After washing ashore on a desert island, a shipwrecked man is prevented from leaving by a mysterious red turtle. He attacks the turtle and leaves it to die, only to see it reappear as a woman. Told entirely without words, in a breathtaking flow of hand-drawn and digital animation, The Red Turtle is a powerful metaphor for life on earth and a stirring tribute to the natural world. This landmark work of contemporary animation is the fruit of a rare collaboration between the Japanese masters at Studio Ghibli, French powerhouse Wild Bunch, and Academy Award-winning animator Michael Dudok De Wit.

The film was screened at FIAF as part of Animation First 2018.

Stream The Monk and the Fish on YouTubeStream The Red Turtle on Amazon

Conversation with Michael Dudok de Wit

Animation First 2018’s Guest of Honor Michael Dudok de Wit talks about the creation of The Red Turtle, his critically-acclaimed debut feature film, and the film’s themes and inspirations.

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Michel Ocelot: Kirikou and the Sorceress

Dir. Michel Ocelot, France, 1998. 70 min. Color.
In French with English subtitles.
Ages 6+

Animation First 2019 celebrated the 20th anniversary of Guest of Honor Michel Ocelot’s beloved feature film, Kirikou and the Sorceress. Steeped in popular African folktales, Ocelot—who spent his childhood in Guinea—brings to life the exquisite adventures of little Kirikou, a smart and courageous boy who must save his village from a flesh-eating sorceress and her terrible curse.

When it was released in 1998, the film enchanted audiences worldwide and marked a turning point in animation, unleashing a renewed interest for original and audacious animated filmmaking in France. Fusing African myth, stunning imagery, and a sophisticated sensibility that attracted both adults and children, Ocelot broadened the scope of what animation could accomplish on screen.

The film was screened at FIAF as part of Animation First 2019.

Stream on Amazon

Conversation with Michel Ocelot

Animation First 2019’s Guest of Honor Michel Ocelot, in a conversation with filmmaker Candy Kugel, discusses his career from the critical success of Kirikou and the Sorceress to his more recent feature, Dilili in Paris, which premiered in France in 2018.

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Jean-François Laguionie: Louise by the Shore

Dir. Jean-François Laguionie, 2016, 75 min
In French with English subtitles
Ages 10 & up

On the last day of summer, Louise, who has been vacationing in a small seaside town, realizes that the last train has departed without her. She suddenly finds herself alone—a septuagenarian Robinson Crusoe—and forced to confront the oncoming winter alone.

A novel reinvention of a desert island story, Laguionie’s poignant and personal allegory for aging follows Louise as she scavenges food, finds her Friday in a canine companion (voiced by Laguionie himself), eschews rescue, and reflects on her life.

The film was screened at FIAF as part of Animation First 2020.

Stream on Amazon

The Imaginary Worlds of Jean-François Laguionie

Before he focused his career on feature films, legendary director Jean-François Laguionie was admired for his enchanting short animated films.

Spanning works from 1964’s The Lady and the Cellist to 1978’s César Award–winning Rowing Across the Atlantic, this program delves into the singular imagination of a visionary filmmaker. All the films were recently restored and digitized by L’Agence du court métrage.

Ages 10 & up
In French with English subtitles

Click on the film name to stream it.

The Actor
1975, 5 min 35 sec

The Lady and the Cellist
1964, 9 min

A Bomb by Chance
1969, 9 min

Potr and the Mermaid
1974, 11 min

Rowing Across the Atlantic
1978, 21 min

Conversation with Jean-François Laguionie

In this special conversation, Jean-François Laguionie, Animation First 2020’s Guest of Honor, discusses his rich body of work as a visual artist, writer, and filmmaker over the course of his 50-year career.

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