Irish producer Darragh O’Connell of Brown Bag Films has been selected as one of 11 international jurors to sit on this year’s Annecy Animated Film Festival jury panel in what has been called a “hugely important” move for Irish animation.
O’Connell is one of three jurors who will judge the animated short films in competition at this year’s event in France, which is widely recognized as the world-leader in international animation festivals drawing up to 7,000 industry delegates each year.
Annecy will also cast a spotlight on Irish animation after selecting Ireland as its country focus at this year’s event. The festival takes place over June 4-9 with part of this year’s line-up officially announced in France last night (April 24)
IFTN can reveal that the focus on Ireland will see 48 Irish pieces screened as part of a five-piece programme of screenings under the banner Forty Frames of Green. The programme was curated for Annecy by Irish animator Steve Woods, who was working in tandem with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland and IFI International.
Speaking to IFTN, Woods said O’Connell’s selection was “quite a big deal for the Irish animation industry and a big deal for O’Connell personally.” He added that it was important for the Irish animation industry to have figures such as O’Connell selected on such internationally renowned jury panels.
Birch Hamilton of the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland added O’Connell’s selection was “hugely important” and was reflective of “the standing in which Irish animation is held worldwide.”
O’Connell will sit on a three-person panel which includes US producer Joe Aguilar (Puss In Boots) and Singapore director Eric Khoo (My Magic).
Of the Irish focus at Annecy, Hamilton added: “It really is a tremendous opportunity for Irish animation and Irish directors to have this spotlight shone on them at Annecy, and we’d feel that it’s very deserving. Irish animation continues to go from strength to strength.
“We’ve had huge recognition from the US in previous years and now to be focused on at Annecy, in front of 7,000 people from across the animated world, is fantastic. There is huge talent in animation in Ireland and I think that that talent is what has really made us standout.”
Forty Frames Of Green will consist of five programmed screenings events. The first will feature Tomm Moore’s Oscar-nominated Irish animated feature film ‘The Secret of Kells’. The additional four screening events will comprise of roughly 90 minutes each taking in children’s TV shows, art films and Irish language and archival works and have been sourced by IFI International through the IFI Irish Film Archive collections and elsewhere.
Woods added that a significant amount of the works that will be screened were projects that received Irish Film Board support through the Frameworks and Short Shorts scheme.
Amongst the works that will be screened include Ruairi Robinson’s Oscar-nominated short ‘Fifty Percent Grey’; Brown Bag Films’ ‘Give Up Your Auld Sins’ and ‘Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty’ and Kavaleer Productions animated short ‘The Depository’, which was directed by Andrew Kavanagh.
Episodes of Monster Animation’s pre-school TV series ‘Fluffy Gardens’, which was created by Jason Tammemagi and has been broadcast on RTÉ and Discovery Kids, will also be screened alongside Belfast-born Glen Marshall’s ‘Butterfly’, Alice Lyons and Orla Mc Hardy’s 2009 short ‘The Polish Language’ and episodes of IFTA-award winning children’s TV series ‘Skunk Fu!’, co-produced by Ireland’s Telegael and made by Cartoon Saloon.
The Irish Film Board, Enterprise Ireland, Culture Ireland and the SDGI will also host a number of panel discussions, receptions and events at Annecy with full details of those events to be revealed in the coming weeks. It is expected that 20 to 30 Irish animation directors will also attend the festival along with other delegates from the industry.
Referring to Ireland as “a creative hotspot” for animation, the organizers of Annecy said they had decided to spotlight Ireland because “over the past few years Ireland has been developing some highly original productions, great artistic successes and creating a special relationship with other major European countries in animation.”
This year’s Annecy festival will open with French director Patrice Leconte’s first feature-length animation ‘The Suicide Shop’ and will also host previews of features such as ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’and Jean-Christophe Dessaint’s ‘The Day Of The Crows (Le Jour des Corneilles)’
Ten feature-length films will screen in competition alongside 49 shorts, 54 student films, 60 TV works in competition and another 41 shorts out of competition.
The festival’s International Animation Film Market Mifa will run June over 6-8.