In partnership with Annecy, we are thrilled to present our third annual slate of amazing animated filmmaking from around the world. The range of artistry on display this year for LA audiences is truly remarkable, from celebrated Cannes, Venice, and Annecy winners, to enormous box office megahits, to lovingly told personal stories. From self-taught, first-time filmmakers to revered masters. From expressionistic to cartoony to photo-realistic to provocatively experimental. There is stop motion, hand drawn, hand painted, 3D CGI, comedy, romance, heart-rending drama, psychological thriller, epic fantasy, and so much more that simply can’t be categorized. If anyone still suffers under the misimpression that animation is a family entertainment genre, the festival will open their eyes to the wide, practically unlimited possibilities that this potent artform is capable of.Eric Beckman, Founder GKIDS and AIF
The ANIMATION IS FILM Festival will include animated feature films from Asia, Europe, South America and North America, with both juried and audience prizes. Makoto Shinkai’s hugely successful WEATHERING WITH YOU will open the festival with Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura in attendance. Closing the festival will be France’s I LOST MY BODY, with director Jeremy Clapin and producer Marc du Pontavice in attendance.
For the Third Annual Festival their will be 10 feature films in competition, vying for Grand Prize, Special Jury Prize, and Audiences Award. The three day festival will present special screenings, retrospectives, short films, panel discussions, sneak peek “making of” and “behind the scenes” presentations, plus non-stop receptions and parties.
Mickael Marin, CEO & Director Annecy
The quality and diversity of the films presented at Animation Is Film this year reinforces Annecy’s satisfaction of being associated with an event that has already found its place after only 2 editions and is a genuine springboard in North America for the world’s best independent animation.
2019 FILMS IN COMPETITION
WEATHERING WITH YOU – US PREMIERE – OPENING NIGHT FILM
(dir. Makoto Shinkai, prod. Genki Kawamura, Japan) FILMMAKERS IN PERSON Weathering With You is the new film from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically acclaimed, global hit Your Name. Weathering With You is the highest grossing film of the year at the Japan box office, as well as Japan’s official International Feature Film entry to the 2020 Academy Awards®. With Tokyo flooding under unceasing rains, runaway teen Hokoda meets Hina, a mysterious girl who has the power to part the clouds and bring the sun.
I LOST MY BODY – WEST COAST PREMIERE – CLOSING NIGHT FILM
(dir. Jeremy Clapin, prod. Marc du Pontavice, France) FILMMAKER IN PERSON Presented in partnership with COLCOA French Film Festival From director Jeremy Clapin and Amelie screenwriter Gullaume Laurant, I Lost My Body is winner of the Nespresso Grand Prize in Critics’ Week at Cannes as well as both the Cristal for Best Feature Film and the Audience Prize at Annecy. In a Parisian laboratory, a severed hand escapes its unhappy fate and sets out to reconnect with its body.
NE ZHA – SPECIAL SCREENING AND DISCUSSION WITH COLOROOM FOUNDER, YI QIAO (dir. Jiao Zi, China) With the release of Ne Zha, the Chinese animation industry has come into its own. The $20 million budget film has grossed an astounding $700 million at the Chinese box office, demolishing the $235 million prior record head by Disney’s Zootopia. Animation Is Film is thrilled to present a special screening of Ne Zha followed by a discussion with the Yi Qiao, Nezha’s co-writer and the producer, CEO, and visionary force behind Coloroom, the startup animation company that has produced megahits Nezha and Monkey King: Hero is Back, art house titles Big Fish and Begonia, Da Hufa and Have a Nice Day, and is also distributor for anime hits Your Name and Spirited Away.
SON OF THE WHITE MARE – NEWLY RESTORED PRINT
(1981, dir. Marcell Jankovics, Hungary) One of the great psychedelic masterpieces of world animation, Son of the White Mare is a swirling, color-mad maelstrom of mythic monsters and Scythian heroes, part-Yellow Submarine, part-Nibelungenlied, lit by jagged bolts of lightning and drenched in rivers of blue, red, gold and green. Directed by Hungarian animator Marcell Jankovics (famed for his 1974 Oscar-nominated short Sisyphus), Son of the White Mare has been restored in 4K using the original 35mm camera negative and sound elements.
STEVEN UNIVERSE THE MOVIE – SPECIAL SCREENING (dir. Rebecca Sugar, USA)
A rare chance to see Steven on the big screen in all his singing glory! In his first musical TV movie, Steven Universe thinks his time defending the Earth is over. But when a new gem comes to Beach City seeking revenge, Steven faces his biggest challenge yet. Steven Universe, the TV show, 2018 Peabody Award and 2019 GLAAD Media Award recipient, follows Steven and the Crystal Gems, a team of magical aliens who fight to protect the planet Earth. Steven is the half-Gem half-human son of the Crystal Gems’ late leader Rose Quartz and local musician Greg Universe. Steven’s friends and family support him as he grows into his powers and figures out how to be himself.
SPECIAL EVENTS & WORKSHOPS
FROZEN: BEHIND-THE-SCENES – FILMMAKERS IN-PERSON Be among the first to experience new footage from the breathlessly anticipated sequel to the 2013 phenomenon Frozen. For your guide, co-director and Academy Award® winner Chris Buck takes you on a journey out of Arendelle in pursuit of the origin of Elsa’s powers. Featuring scenes and music from the upcoming Frozen II, Animation Is Film is proud to present this special sneak preview.
FREE FAMILY EVENT HAIR LOVE: THE MAKING OF – FILMMAKERS IN PERSON (d. Matthew A. Cherry, USA) Hair Love is a story about learning something new. After retiring from the NFL, wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry moved to Los Angeles and switched gears to begin work in film. When he launched a Kickstarter campaign to make an animated short about a black father’s struggle to learn how to style his young daughter’s hair, it became the most highly funded short film in the platform’s history and the film was released in theaters nationwide. Join director/writer/producer Matthew A. Cherry, director Everett Downing Jr., and producer Karen Rupert Toliver for a screening of the short and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Hair Love.
2019 AIF JURY
Allison Abbate (EVP, Warner Animation Group) Allison Abbate is an executive vice president at Warner Animation Group (WAG), a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. Abbate was an executive producer on the global blockbuster The LEGO® Movie; and a producer on Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Corpse Bride, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Brad Bird’s directorial debut, Iron Giant.
Matthew Cherry (Film & Television Executive, MonkeyPaw) He is an accomplished director & producer for TV and Film projects. He executive produced the Academy Award nominated film, BlackKklansman directed by Spike Lee. His current project is titled “Hair Love” and it is an animated short film about an African American father trying to do his daughters hair for the first time and he recently partnered with Sony Pictures Animation on the project, which was released in North American theaters with “The Angry Birds Movie 2.”
Melissa Cobb (VP, Kids and Family, Netflix) Melissa Cobb is Vice President, Kids and Family at Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service. Cobb leads the content team responsible for bringing kids and family titles, both live-action and animated, to Netflix members in 190 countries around the world.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Filmmaker, Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3, The Darkest Minds) Jennifer Yuh Nelson made her feature film directorial debut with “Kung Fu Panda 2”. Nelson has lent her talents to a variety of DreamWorks Animation pictures, including as head of story for “Kung Fu Panda”, and story artist on “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron’ and “Madagascar”.
FULL LINEUP AT: WWW.ANIMATIONISFILM.COM
ANIMATION IS FILM fills a gap in the market by establishing a world class animation festival in the US, with its home in the world capital of filmmaking. The Festival embraces the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form on par with live action filmmaking and is a vocal advocate for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their work to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of. The festival is produced by GKIDS in partnership with Annecy International Animation Film Festival. Major industry and media sponsors include: Variety, Fathom Events, Loews Hotels, All Nippon Airways, ELMA, Netflix, Shout! Factory, Paramount Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, Cartoon Network, Unifrance, DreamWorks Animation Animation Magazine, Animation Scoop, Animation World Network, Cartoon Brew, Japan House LOS ANGELES, RightStuf Anime, CSULB Animation, WIA (Women In Animation), USC School of Cinematic Arts, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and CalArts.