The Annecy International Animation Film Festival is a major showcase for new animated films, short films and television series. It offers detailed overviews through its Works in Progress panels. Last year’s selection included first glimpses of masterpieces such as Wolf walkers and The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and this year’s selection looks just as promising. This article provides an overview of all of the Work in Progress panels that CBR had the chance to view during the festival, but the digital version of Annecy 2021 was plagued by technical issues so not all could be seen.
As of this writing, there is no English translation uploaded for the panel at March Express. The panel for the adaptation of Haruki Murakami Blind willow, sleeping woman is not yet available to stream, but the festival says it is in the process of modifying it. Fortunately, even if the festival is over, all panels will be available to streaming attendees for the rest of the year.
Fena: pirate princess
With Uzumaki postponed to 2022, Fena: pirate princess is Toonami and Crunchyroll’s first original anime co-production this summer. Director Kazuto Nakazawa was inspired by the aftermath of the Sengoku period in Japan and how some samurai left to serve as mercenaries across the world. Although vaguely inspired by history, Fena is a fantasy where places are “used as motifs, and everything in the story is fictional”. The most thorough research was to find actual locations for the background, which looks beautiful. Nakazawa was inspired by the manga shojo for the characters, on which he collaborated with a creator, Yasuko Takahashi. Unusual for an animated series, the voice actors could ad-lib and the final animation was adjusted to their performance.
Maya and the Three
Maya and the Three is a fantastic nine-part miniseries, for all ages, inspired by Mesoamerican culture. Creator Jorge Gutierrez, who directed The book of life, thought he couldn’t do that; he was lucky when Netflix Animation manager Melissa Cobb asked her for unrealizable locations. Gutierrez’s wife Sandra Equihua serves as character designer and creative consultant, and much of the panel was devoted to showcasing her stunning design work, which the couple said was “a new challenge.” for cosplayers. Two exclusive clips were released: the first involved the warrior princess, Maya, receiving her mother’s armor and her father’s weapon, while the second featured Maya’s first battle against Acat, the tattoo goddess.
Love Vincent had its problems in terms of storytelling, but was an artistic achievement for its oil paint rotoscope animation. Farmers, being made by Love VincentDorota Kobiela’s co-director, and the same animation team, use the same stunning technique while adapting Władysław Reymont’s classic novel. The 1,000-page adaptation of source material took a lot of clipping, so Kobiela and screenwriter Hugh Welchman focused on Jagna’s “quirky, slightly goth” character while giving it a more active arc than in the novel. . Drawing inspiration from Polish painting, filmmakers were less subjected to strict recreations than to Love Vincent. Clips of the dance scenes from the film have been shown, although those clips are in live-action form and have not yet been rotoscoped.
Rabbit Samurai: The Usagi Chronicles
From that of Stan Sakai Usagi Yojimbo, Rabbit Samurai: The Usagi Chronicles is a Franco-American co-production of 20 upcoming episodes on Netflix. This is mostly CGI, although there are limited 2D animation sequences. The series is set 1,000 years after the comics, and to attract an audience of children, a new team of teenagers is introduced, and the action is inspired less by Japanese samurai films and more by action cinema from Hong Kong. The new protagonist, Yuichi Usagi, grew up idolizing his ancestor, Miyamoto, and wants to be like him. The first arc is about yokai, while the second has more pop culture influences with giant robots and kaiju. Sakai has full approval every step of the way in the production process and says, “I love what has happened so far with the series.”
Ale Abreu, director of the Oscar nominee Boy and the world, Zoomed in from Brazil to unveil his next film, Perlims. A more traditional story than Boy and the world, Perlims is about a wolf boy, Claé, and a bear girl, Bruô, who come from enemy realms but find themselves working together in the enchanted forest to save the Perlimps. What exactly are Perlims? The presentation did not offer a clear answer, but it seems they are related to light and energy. However, after watching one of the finest video presentations, which featured tons of colorful art and otherworldly music, audiences are curious to uncover the mysteries of the Perlimps when the movie releases the next year.
Unicorn wars is the new feature film by Alberto Vázquez, the Spanish artist who created and co-directed Birdboy: The Forgotten Children. Unicorn wars Continues the cute but twisted aesthetic of Birdboy in a “fantasy-Vietnamese” story about hand-drawn all-male teddy bears at war with computer-animated all-female unicorns. The film is described as a cross between Apocalypse now, Bambi and The Bible – which Vázquez described as one of his “favorite fiction books”. The work in progress panel has scrutinized the trailer already released as well as unfinished clips showcasing the film’s violence, crass humor, and mix of artistic styles, and the soundtrack combines elements of electronic and religious music.
Aardman Animation’s next project Robin robin, a half-hour vacation special about a mouse-adopted bird, hits Netflix on November 27. The adorable trailer shows that this is sort of a visual departure for Aardman, with the characters having muted textures rather than plasticine textures. In their presentation, directors Mikey Please and Dan Ojari showed how the story evolved from a storybook pitch to full animation. Rather than using temporary music, the short was developed from the start with the musical score from The Bookshop Band.
Mermaid, directed by Sepideh Farsi, is a drama about a teenager living at the siege of Abadan in 1980 during the Iran-Iraq war. Farsi typically directs live-action movies, especially documentaries, but she decided animation was the best way to accurately recreate the period and capture the clarity of her war memories. The animation style is unusual and cool, in which the detailed CGI designs are simplified and shaded with stylized flat colors.
Nayola was also among the most serious animated films presented at Annecy. Based on the game The black box by Eduardo Agualusa and Mia Couto, the film tells the story of three generations of women who went through the civil war in Angola. Director José Miguel Ribeiro got introduced to the story by a friend who wanted to do it as a live-action / animation hybrid. The final film is a hybrid of 2D animation in the past and 3D animation in the present. Ribeiro said it was important for the story to present the war from a women’s perspective, focused on horror and free from any notion of heroic machismo.
Little Nicolas, directed by Benjamin Massoubre and Amandine Fredon, is a metafictional adaptation of a classic series of French children’s books. The film goes back and forth between the true story of the authors of the books, Jean-Jacques Sempé and René Goscinny, and the stories of their books, with the mischievous Petit Nicolas moving from the world of fairy tales to the real world. The hand-drawn animation faithfully recreates the style of Sempé’s original illustrations, and a few animated clips were shown during the panel, but no English translation was provided.
Dragon princess is a French fantasy film directed by Jean-Jacques Denis and WakfuIt’s Anthony Roux. The fairy tale, about a dragon adopting a human daughter, was inspired by the fertility struggles of the Roux family. Denis pointed out that this is a film primarily intended for children, although entire families can enjoy it. The art and animation have a sweet Studio Ghibli vibe, mostly hand drawn but with a CG dragon.
The House is an adult-oriented stop-motion black comedy anthology coming to Netflix. It contains three stories, each from the perspective of the same house inhabited by different people and animals in the past, present and future. Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels, Niki Lindroth von Bahr and Paloma Baeza lead the various segments, while Matthew Goode, Jarvis Cocker and Helena Bonham-Carter are part of the vast cast of the unconventional animation project.
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