Annecy part 1: Monday to Wednesday

So here’s part 1 of my week’s recap.

Day 1: Monday 7th June

Monday is always a slow day. The conferences meetings and fair haven’t started yet so you can spend the day walking around Annecy’s charming old town and watching some cool animation.

My first screening was only scheduled for 14:00 so I spent the morning and lunch break reading all the different programs,: information booklets etc. they handed me at registration. There’s so much to see! I wish I could divide myself into several bodies… but well… will have to make a choice… On top of that, Pixelux has a booth at the MIFA this year, so I will have to spend a fair amount of time there doing DMM demos.

14:00 Commissioned films in competition
I like starting with commissioned films. Most of them are pretty short so the pacing is fast. Keeps things entertaining! My faves:
Harmonix “The Beatles: Rock Band”, Pete Candeland, Passion Pictures
Aides “Graffiti”, Yoann Lemoine, Wanda Productions (Warning: content inappropriate for some users)
Going West, Martin Andersen & Line Andersen, Colenso BBDO
Sour “hibi no neiro”, Masashi Kawamura & Hal Kirkland & Magiko Nakamura & Masayoshi Nakamura

16:00 Graduation films in competition 3
Interesting selection. Quite a few faves:
The Lighthouse keeper, david Francois & Rony Hotin & Jeremie Moreau & Baptiste Rogron & Gaelle Thierry & Mailys Vallade, Gobelins l’Ecole de l’Image
Once again a beautiful short from les Gobelins.
Benigni, Elli Vuorinen & Jasmini Ottelin & Pinja Partanen, Turku Arts Academy
Funny and weird. Entertaining till the end.
Parade, Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet, Doncvoila / Petite Ceinture
Great use of animation
KungFu Bunny 3 – Counterattack, Zhi Yong Li, Communication University of China
Just plain fun!

18:00 Short films in competition
Good but not great. My fave:
The Lost Thing, Andrew Ruhemann & Shaun Tan, Passion Pictures Australia PTY LTD

Day 2: Tueday 8th June

Nothing much today: we had to install our booth and the furniture was late. The good thing is we are just opposite Disney so we should get a lot of traffic and hopefully a glimpse at their cool demos.

21:00 Feature Film in Competition no 5: Summer Wars
Director: Mamoru Hosody, Prod Madhouse inc, Japan, 2009
In a world where the Oz virtual platform has replaced internet, everyone has a second life. One summer in the country a family finds itself confronted with a world crisis coming from Oz. A war begins. Watch trailer.
Interesting movie. Funny at times. Some weird twists in the story. I think there are just too many themes, too much going on so nothing really gets developed properly. It felt like the story was jumping all over the place.

Day 3: Wednesday 9th June

1st day of the MIFA. I spent most if my time at the booth, but still got a chance to attend a few conferences:

9:30 Conference: VFX and Animation
I couldn’t attend the whole conference but only one talk and a half:

Thomas Duval Director of VFX at Duran Duboi

He talked about the recreation of the Veldiv for the movie “la Rafle”. They had very little reference which made it much more difficult for them. Moreover, the director wanted everything to be as close to reality as possible.
He also explained their pipeline and how they plan budgets.

Nicolas Scapel Head of Rigging at Framestore

He talked about his work on the movie “Where the Wild Things Are”. I found this talk more interesting but unfortunately had to leave before the end.
I didn’t know that there had been quite a few attempts to adapt the book before, including a 2D and 3D hybrid animation by John Lasseter in 1983!
The shooting began in 2006. Spike Jones wanted everything to be live action. They even built very complicated animatronics to animate the monster’s faces. Unfortunately they realised on set that this was unusable so they just shot the actors with the suits and masks with no facial expressions.  What the director wanted Framestore to do was just animate the faces. He was happy with everything he shot but needed the monster’s faces to show some acting. They used a technique called projection mapping. It’s a kind of hybrid of warping and 3D.

11:00 Dreamworks presentation and recruitment session
Dreamworks presented their different offices in the US and India. They showed us pictures of the studios and staff and explained how the pipeline worked etc.  They also showed us a few special tidbits. The new Megamind trailer and…. a work in progress of a Kung Fu Panda 2 shot! 🙂 I really liked the first movie. Probably one of my Dreamworks favourite with Shrek. I hope the sequel will be as good…
As for the recruitment session, it was a bit rushed. There were so many people! Most of them were animators and concept artists. There was only one lighter nad I was the only FX person. I gave them my demo reel and CV but they didn’t have the time to look at it so well… we’ll see..

After the MIFA closed at 19:00 there was an opening day cocktail in the beautiful garden in front of the Imperial followed by the opening party at 21:00. Met some great people and just had a wonderful time! 🙂 This year the party was held at the Palace de Menthon which is about 20 minutes away. I must say the setting was amazing! The palace overlooks the lake and was lit up for the occasion. It looked stunning. I think that’s one of the reasons Annecy is so popular: it’s so beautiful. The turquoise lake, the mountains, the Imperial palace, the old town, the canal, all of it is really charming.

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