Annecy Fest celebrates 50 years June 7-12

Katzenberg, Groening to attend int'l animation event

PARIS -- The Annecy International Animation Film Festival will blow out its 50th birthday candles this year with a different toon thanks to a colorful slate of all-star guests, including Jeffrey Katzenberg, Matt Groening and Ari Folman, plus several international film premieres and professional conferences, organizers confirmed Monday. The fest kicked off Monday.

Folman will head the Feature Film Jury, which will vote on competition titles from across the globe -- this year with a particularly Asian flare. Titles include Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," Tarik Saleh's "Metropia," Dominique Montery's "Kerity la maison des contes," Liu Jian's "Piercing 1," Mamoru Hosoda's "Summer Wars," Munehisa Sakai's "One Piece Film: Strong World" and Jean-Christophe Roger's "Allez raconte!"

This year's official selection will showcase 213 films in competition including features, short films, TV movies, educational programming, commercials, music videos and student films.

Organizers have gathered more than 50 animated personalities to bring life to the South-Eastern French commune. David Silverman, Patrice Leconte, Nick Park, Peter Lord, Peter de Seve, Alain Chabat, Sylvain Chomet, Bill Plympton, Michel Ocelot, Raoul Servais, Florence Miailhe, Elie Semoun and others are set to make appearances.

French premieres will include Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist" based on a script by Jacques Tati, studio titles "Shrek Forever After" and "Despicable Me," plus "Around the World in 50 Years 3D" and screenings of "Toy Story" and "Tory Story 2" in stereoscopic 3D.

Argentina will be in the spotlight as the country of honor, giving public and professional festgoers a retrospective of Juan Pablo Zaramella's work, plus a premiere of "Anima Buenos Aires."

Cinephiles will be able to learn about animation production through case studies of current projects in production complete with appearances from the films' directors, such as Patrice Leconte for his upcoming 2012 title "Le Magasin des suicides."

The small screen will also be tooning in to the festivities with a special "Simpsons Extravaganza" featuring Matt Groening and David Silverman, a look at Michel Ocelot's French TV series "Dragons and Princesses" and a visit from Walt Disney Animation Studios' John Musker and Ron Clements who will discuss "Disney: The Art of Traditional Animation."

Festgoers can take advantage of the usually sunny June weather with outdoor screenings of recent releases like "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "Brendan and the Secret of Kelis."

The festival will host its first national voice competition with open auditions. Famous Parisian studio Plus 30 will set up shop in Annecy at local conservatory the CRR to host the first round of the competition before a second round in Paris in early 2011. Organizers are hoping to find hidden talents for French dubbing of upcoming films and TV series.

As the festival fetes its 50th, parallel animation market the MIFA will celebrate its quarter-century birthday June 9-11. This year's 25th MIFA will host around 100 stands for companies from all over the world, meeting spots for idea exchanges and business meetings, plus conferences dealing with topics such as "TV Relief," "Competition among European Studios" and "VFX and Animation." Organizers say that a record number of participants have already registered for the market.

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival runs June 7-12.
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