MIFA 2021: A Celebration of Creativity

admin   June 15, 2021

With COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift towards animation, the world’s top animation studios are participating at Annecy International Film Festival and MIFA 2021 with full vigour in anticipation of discovering new creative ideas, talent and collaborate with the right set of people. Interview with  Véronique Encrenaz, head of MIFA, CITIA

Amidst the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic, Annecy International Film Festival and International Animation Film Market (Mifa) will be among the first on-site market filmmakers will be attending in over 15 months. In a chat with Pickle, MIFA’s head Véronique Encrenaz,  explains how they seek to provide a platform for networking, pitch projects, engage in co-production and distribution, scout for talent and celebrate animation films on big screens. Here are the excerpts from the interview…

It’s fantastic to see Annecy International Film Festival and MIFA 2021 happening in physical and virtual format this year?

It is very challenging. But at the same time, it is extremely satisfactory. It is great to have Annecy and Mifa happening in this hybrid format. It is lovely to see theatres begin screening films and content in the Competition Section of Annecy International Film Festival. Mifa market is providing an opportunity for professionals to meet face to face at our venues. We have also provided rich content and tools on our online platform as many professionals will be unable to visit Annecy. We are thrilled to discover and celebrate animation films on big screen.

The major objective of Annecy and Mifa is to promote animation, especially among young directors and creators. What we do at Annecy is to put together all the right ingredients in one place to prepare a perfect recipe that allows film industry professionals find the right set of people to go ahead with. Among participants, we have content creators, studios, service providers, technology providers, students, and buyers, among others.  Through the festival and market, we seek to provide a platform that allows networking, pitching projects, scouting for talent, and understanding global markets, co-production opportunities and so on.

For sure, there is an excitement as virtual production audio-visual content in computers has been scaled to new levels…

Yes, you’re absolutely right. Animation content is produced virtually and virtual production is trending. Professionals from across the world are participating (most of them outside of Europe). Buyers and platforms are looking for new content. Broadcasters and streaming platforms need fresh content. We have a number of panels, studio focused sessions, keynotes, meeting buyers, festival programmers, recruiters looking for talent and participation from educational institutions.  We have received the maximum number of projects to pitch at Mifa. We have at least 20 pitching sessions, which is unprecedented at Mifa.

Many countries are focusing on animation, as during the pandemic it has been the only way to express oneself for many artists. The world’s top animation studios, including the ones from America and Canada, are participating with full vigour. For many French and European audio- visual professionals, Annecy and Mifa will be one of the first on-site markets they will attend in over 15 months.

Animation from Africa seems to be a major focus area both at Annecy Festival and Mifa.

This year tribute to African animation industry, plus the Festival’s 60th anniversary, mean so much for Mifa. Besides, it offers return to a semblance of normal life and meetings at the lakeshore.

We are very proud to have focus on Africa animation, which we should have had in 2020. We have been supporting projects from Arica for more than 10 years at Annecy, to help them organise themselves, make progress, and be recognised by the world community. In France , Africa 2020 is taking place from December 2020 to July 2021 (instead of June to December 2020 as formerly planned).

South Africa has emerged big in animation and all the major studios from there will be participating at Mifa and African competition film section of the Festival. It’s a great moment to celebrate African artists, and the young generation coming out with new stories. Things are changing fast in Africa, and younger generation from the continent is willing to tell their own stories. So it will be great to hear them out. It is also a great opportunity for additional visibility to African animation and tribute to artists from Africa.

Through the course of the Annecy International Animation Film Festival’s 60-year history, 47 African films have been in the Official Selection. But animation is currently booming on the African continent, and the 2021 programming will reflect this.

A glimpse at the 2021 Mifa Africa programme

As many as 22 African project pitches from across the African continent will be presented in partnership with our on-site partners: Meknès International Animation Film Festival, animatex, Nigerian Animation Association, CairoComix, Tshimologong, Digital Lab Africa, etc.

A conference to “Understand African Animation: Collaboration at the Heart of Today’s and Tomorrow’s Strategies”.

A Focus on Africa spotlights the distribution opportunities within the continent and internationally.

Meetings with publishers, broadcasters, distributors, and festival programmers from the continent during the Meet the… sessions. We are greeting the notable CairoComix, Meknès International Animation Film Festival, Dakar Court, the Rencontres du Film Court in Madagascar, and the Fespaco.

Everything About MIFA 2021

Mifa with a new twist

Meetings take priority in complete safety, with health precautions, adapted equipment, and more.

Exhibition Area

Private tables for companies, mini-stands for delegations and pavilions. The entire Impérial Palace is providing meeting and viewing areas, as well as the La Voile and Brasserie’s upstairs lounges, restaurants and terraces.

Annecy Network and Virtual Stands

Set up your profile and meet professionals, who are there individually or in delegations, that include Japan, China, Korea, Malaysia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Mexico, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. and connect with them live in your specific virtual room.

Mifa Pitches: 20 SESSIONS

As many as 36 unique projects reflecting uninhibited creativity, galvanized by their storytelling and aesthetic diversity from all over the world: France, Argentina, Brazil, Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Canada, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Iran, USA, Madagascar, Germany, Belgium, and more.

Partners Pitches

More than 70 projects spread across 13 sessions, each one identified by its geographical zone: Africa (Digital Lab Africa, Nigeria Focus@Mifa, Africa2020 Season, NFVF Market Readiness Program), Latin America (La Liga, Chile, Colombia, Animation! Women), Asia (South East Asia Focus 2021, Taiwan, Japan), Middle East (Israel), as well as Europe (Aura in Motion, CEE Animation Forum)

Meet the Talent

Participate in these online targeted meetings dedicated to the Talents (the Pitch sessions’ project leaders), festival programmers, book publishers and producers (Gap Financing).

Focus

Come and discover a country or a continent’s ecosystem, an association or a scheme’s latest news, to have a global understanding of the animation industry: the Baltic states, United Kingdom, Greece, China, Korea, etc. will be on the programme, as well as Asifa’s 60th and a focus on the animation Residencies.

Recruitment – New Formula!

Take advantage of a Virtual Recruitment Area and reveal your studios’ working environment, thanks to a special virtual stand and Recruiters Talk sessions.

Nickelodeon, USA

Fortiche Prod, France

Laika, USA

The Third Floor, United Kingdom

Blue-Zoo, United Kingdom

GO-N, France

Axis, United Kingdom

Lighthouse, Ireland

Netflix, USA

Cartoon Saloon, Ireland

Mifa Campus

In partnership with Unity, the Mifa Campus will take place this year on Friday 18th June and will offer an opportunity to showcase talents from the African continent, from the Festival, as well as the biggest names in animation, who will be there to share their knowledge and expertise and inspire the participants.