Animation First is the only film festival in the US dedicated to the unparalleled legacy and enduring ingenuity of France’s animation studios and schools.

Today, France is Europe’s largest producer and the world’s third-largest exporter of animated film. Since its early beginnings in the late 19th century when Émile Reynaud projected his Pantomimes Lumineuses at the Musée Grévin in Paris, French animation has inspired filmmakers and artists. Their resulting experiments with puppets, cutouts, and stop motion, have been instrumental in inventing important techniques in cinema. Renowned for its stylistic innovation and an approach that integrates artisanal methods with technological ingenuity, French animation continues to garner awards worldwide and spans a diversity of genres. It is responsible for a variety of films from independent art-house successes such as Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Bellevilleand Michaël Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle to those for mature audiences like Persepolis to big-budget blockbusters Ballerina to the Franco-American Despicable Me franchise.

Since its first edition in 2018, Animation First has sought to bring the best of French animation to New York audiences. The Festival has featured the work of and hosted veteran filmmakers such as Anca Damian, Michaël Dudok de Wit, Jean-François Laguioni, and Michel Ocelot, while championing up-and-coming talents such as Charlotte Cambon, Denis Do, Jérémie Perin, and Mai Nguyen. The Festival is a place where audience members can engage with filmmakers, animation professionals, and personalities during behind-the-scene discussions, works in progress, and stimulating talks.

Animation First is presented by FIAF whose mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.

Festival Highlights:

  • More than 75 US and NY Premieres of feature-length and short films
  • Opening night US premiere of Rémi Chayé’s CALAMITY JANE
  • Special Guest Wes Anderson selects his favorite animated films including BAMBI dubbed in French and Hindi.
  • Tribute to Paul Grimault with rare screenings of his iconic work
  • A feature film and shorts program spotlighting African Animation
  • Works in Progress of highly anticipated films by Anca Damian, Benoît Chieux, and Florence Miailhe
  • Shorts programs include Best of Annecy International Film Festival and New French works
  • New: Top US & French animation schools participate in Student Short Film Competition
  • Live Talks with industry leaders and featured filmmakers
  • Plus Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Interactive Graphic Novels, Workshops, and more!

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