Animation First to Shine a Spotlight on French Animation

The Red Turtle 2 - H 2016
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The new film festival, hosted by New York's French Institute Alliance Francaise, will be held Feb. 2-4.

The inaugural edition of Animation First, which bills itself as the first-ever French animation festival in the U.S., will be held Feb. 2-4 in New York City under the auspices of New York’s French Institute Alliance Francaise.

Boasting 12 U.S. and New York premieres, the event will screen both feature-length and short films, virtual reality and video games and also present interactive workshops, gaming demonstrations and panel discussions.

The lineup includes a preview of Terry Gilliam and Tim Ollive's latest project 1884: Yesterday’s Future; a presentation of the Oscar-nominated The Red Turtle, along with a Q&A with animator Michael Dudok de Wit, who will be the fest’s guest of honor; and a screening of En sortant de l’école, a collection of animated short films inspired by the poems of surrealist author Robert Desnos. Other attendees include actor Jean Reno, who lends his voice to The Day of the Crows (Le jour des corneilles) and who will participate in a Q&A, moderated by best-selling novelist and festival patron Marc Levy, alongside a screening of the pic.

Opening night will feature a 3D screening of Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants, followed by a kickoff party at FIAF, located at 22 East 60th St., and, later that evening, a program called Erotic Animation.

The slate also includes Michel Fuzellier and Babak Payami’s feature Iqbal, a Tale of a Fearless Child (Iqbal, l’enfant qui n’avait pas peur), inspired by the life of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani boy who became a spokesperson against child slavery; and Loulou and Other Wolves (Loulou et autres loups), a program of shorts based on the best-selling children’s book by writer and illustrator Grégoire Solotareff.

Animation First is being co-curated by Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF’s film curator, and Catherine Lamairesse, director of special projects at FIAF.