You probably won’t find del Toro’s Pinocchio in a pole vault competition, or Marcel the Shell in short shorts competing in a 4X100 relay race. But it would not be farfetched to call the Annecy International Animation Film Festival the “Olympics of animation”.  

Animation talent gathers from around the world. They network, they celebrate, and they compete. The 2023 Annecy fest received short film submissions from 100 countries. Out of this pool of 3,200 films, just 37 of them were chosen to compete as “Official selections”. 

The 2023 Annecy festival will take place from June 11th to 17th in Annecy, France. After a two-year online event due to Covid, the 2022 event hosted a record attendance of over 13,000 people.   

Billed as “The world’s largest event dedicated to animation”, here’s what you can look forward to at the annual festival honoring the best in animation.

37 films, 25 countries, and four categories in the 2023 Short Film selections

Annecy Festival 2019 - Spider-Man New Generation

Photo credit: Annecy International Animation Film Festival

See? Told you the scope was like the Olympics. 

The broader short film category is further broken into four niche categories. These are the Official Short Films, the Off-limits Short Films, the Perspectives Short Films, and the Young Audiences Short Films. Besides the 37 films chosen as “Official” selections, seven films made the cut as “Off-limits”, eight as “Young Audience” selections, and 19 in “Perspectives”. 

Annecy releases its official film selections in three batches. The first is this week’s short film selections. At the end of March, they will announce the “Graduation films, TV films, and Commissioned films” selections. Then at the end of April, Annecy will release its feature-film selections.

A comprehensive list of the films in each category can be viewed here on the Annecy site.

Themes, awards, and a gleeful Guillermo del Toro: What you’ll find at the 2023 Annecy Film Festival

Annecy Festival 2019

Photo credit: Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Back in December 2022, Annecy announced that it was adding an entire extra day to the festival for 2023. This will allow the opening ceremonies to take place on a Sunday, and preserve Monday as an entire day for film screenings. Part of this response was to the record 13,248 in attendance at the 2022 festival. The Annecy artistic director, Marcel Jean, expanded upon the reasoning in a December press release

In recent years, the programming has become increasingly dense. By moving the opening ceremony to Sunday, we are re-establishing the agenda so that Monday becomes a fully-fledged festival day.

Along with the extended festival length, the 2023 Annecy animation festival will spotlight Mexico as its country of honor for animation. In the summer of 2022, Guillermo del Toro introduced Mexico’s role at the 2023 festival in one of the more entertainingly gleeful videos you’ll see:

Annecy’s most prized award, like a French Oscar for animation, is the Cristal. It looks kind of like a catamaran that has been injected with galactic light from another dimension:

Annecy Festival award

Photo credit: Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Cristal awards are given in the categories of Feature Films, Short Films, TV and Commissioned Films, and Graduation Films, and VR Works. Annecy also awards “Festival Special Prizes” in the categories of Young Audience, Best Original Music, Youtube, and several others. The full list of Annecy awards can be viewed here.

The 2023 Annecy Animation Festival’s companion: The MIFA animation market

While the screenings and sub-events of a “regular” film festival take place throughout the week, the Annecy festival is accompanied by what’s called the MIFA, or the Annecy International Animation Film Market

 The MIFA is a networking, buying, and educational event that hosts animation distributors, producers, and studio representatives of the industry. Animated film creators can discover and explore the editorial process for TV channels and platforms, meet with buyers and investors to discuss their programming needs, and have one-on-one conversations with publishers, producers, and composers about their films. 

The creator has put in the work on the artistic and creative side. The MIFA is where these talents are discovered and financial partnerships are built.

How to attend the 2023 Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Annecy Festival 2019

Photo credit: Annecy International Animation Film Festival

The festival does sell individual screening tickets, but an all-access festivalgoer must first buy accreditation. The accreditation is in five categories: you’re a film student, a professional, member of the general public, a buyer, or the media. Accreditation prices and categories can be found on the Annecy ticketing page. The “Pass Grand Public” festival passes go on sale May 2nd.

The 2023 Annecy festival will continue over 60 years of tradition

The history of the Annecy festival is as grand and picturesque as the French Alps that sit in the backdrop of the festival. A small film club in Savoie in 1956 planted the seed for a festival. The festival is birthed and grows. It’s 1985 when American studios catch wind of the significance and introduce films at Annecy. The festival grows. It reaches 2022 and the festival has thousands of badge holders and several hundred buyers, distributors, and investors present.

Not everyone can stand up from their project and go to France on a whim, especially the aspiring independent creator. But the Annecy International Animation Festival is a reminder that beyond the intensive act of creation, a network of creators exists that want to spotlight, honor, and connect with your story.