Annecy 2020 Online’s first wave of special programming for its world-class French animation festival (June 15-30) will include making of sessions, previews, and works-in-progress. The biggest news is that indie feature “Animal Crackers,” which premiered at Annecy in 2017, returns as a making of program, having been acquired by streamer Netflix.
The CG children’s fantasy, directed by Tony Bancroft (“Mulan”) and Scott Christan Sava, concerns a magical box of cookies coming to the rescue of a rundown circus. It contains voice work by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, and boasts the work of character designer Carter Goodrich (“Ice Age”).
Netflix is also bringing a work-in-progress presentation of “The Cuphead Show!” series for 2021, adapted from retro-style video game by showrunners Dave Wasson (“Mickey Mouse”) and Cosmo Segurson (“SpongeBob Squarepants”). Drawing on the classic ’30s rubber hose animation style of Disney and Fleischer, the comedy follows the misadventures of the impulsive Cuphead and his naive brother, Mugman.
Another making of session takes a deep dive into Gutsy Animations’ successful “Moominvalley” series (directed by Steve Box), which updates Tove Jansson’s works from the 1940s and takes the world of the Moomins into CG.
Other work-in-progress features include “The Summit of the Gods,” a hand-drawn adaptation of the manga about a young reporter trying to climb Everest, directed by Patrick Imbert (“The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales”); “The Island” (Romania, France, Belgium), an upside-down, musical-comedy, Crusoe story in 2D, directed by Anca Damian; “No Dogs or Italians Allowed” (France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland), a stop-motion drama about uncovering a family legend, from director Alain Ughetto; “Lamya’s Poem” (USA, Canada), the 2D drama about a young Syrian refugee girl who magically encounters 13th century poet, Rumi, from director Alexander Kronemer; and “Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds” (France), about storybook writers who magically enter the fantasy world of their stories, directed by Benoit Chieux; “Inu-Oh” (Japan, China), a 2D re-imagining of 14th century Japanese performer Sarugaku Noh, directed by Masaaki Yuasa.
Previews include sneak peeks of “Even Mice Belong in Heaven” (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, France), a feature combining different techniques about a fox and mouse who meet in animal paradise, from directors Denisa Grimmova and Jan Bubenicek; and “Vanille” (France, Switzerland), a hybrid series about a young Parisian girl who discovers the magical delights of Guadeloupe, directed by Guillaume Lorin.
Annecy Animation Festival
The sessions will consist of recorded videos (including past works-in-progress covering Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Primal” series on Adult Swim and “The Swallows of Kabul” feature from Zabou Breitman and Eléa Gobbé-Mevellec) along with real-time Q&As. More programming announcements to follow from other Hollywood studios.
Earlier this week the festival announced the official features in competition, which include Takashi Yamazaki’s “Lupin the 3rd: The First,” the latest in the popular “gentleman thief” heist franchise, which GKids picked up for theatrical release this year; “Calamity: A Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” the biopic about Martha (Calamity) Jane’s empowering journey West in 1863, from French director Rémi Chayé (“The Long Way North”); and “The Nose or the Conspiracy of Mavericks,” an experimental drama about Stalin’s reign of terror from Russian director Andrey Khrzhanovsky.