The United States is known for a number of world-class international film festivals, from the Los Angeles Film Festival to Telluride. However, America has never hosted a major film festival celebrating animated movies. The Animation Is Film Festival, running from October 20–22 in Los Angeles, is set to change that and aims to be on par with animation festivals in Europe and Asia. The primary goals of the festival are to showcase the top talent in animation and to provide exposure for smaller films in the lead up to the 2018 awards season.
According to the festival website, Animation Is Film "fills a gap in the market by creating the first and only world class animation festival in the US, with its home in the world capital of animated filmmaking." GKIDS, an American distributor of foreign animated films, Annecy Film Festival and the International Animated Film Society teamed up with Variety magazine to make this festival a reality.
Let's take a look at what the festival has to offer and the impact Animation Is Film could have on the Oscar race.
A Powerful Lineup
Animation Is Film's lineup is small but varied, featuring special screenings of popular older movies alongside world premieres, providing content for both adults and children. To highlight the future of #animation, there will also be two free virtual reality events.
Three highly anticipated movies will be screening at Animation Is Film. The opening event at the festival is the acclaimed movie The Breadwinner, which will be making its US debut. Two Japanese movies with big hype will be having their North American premieres as well: Fireworks from the producer of Your Name, and Mary and The Witch's Flower from former #StudioGhibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
The rest of the lineup presents a mix of innovative films from Asia, Europe and the Americas: The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, Zombillenium, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, Mutafukaz, Virus Tropical, Big Fish and Begonia, Lu Over the Wall, Tehran Taboo, Night is Short and Walk on Girl, as well as a collection of short films by women. The special screenings will celebrate groundbreaking works in animation and cherished favorites. There will be an 80th anniversary screening of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a collection of short films from the 1930s and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers of The Incredibles and The LEGO Batman Movie.
Impact On The Oscars
When the Academy Awards announced changes to the voting process in the animation categories earlier this year, there were worries that the category would become increasingly dominated by Disney and Pixar movies, ignoring independent and foreign films. By opening up the nomination and voting stages to the entire academy, it was feared that only American made, CG animated movies would gain nominations and awards.
However, Animation Is Film aims to alleviate these worries by creating a film festival exclusively for animated films. Film festivals play a key role in giving films the exposure required to gain nominations at the #Oscars. Many Oscar winners get their start at film festivals, including last year's big winners La La Land and Moonlight. By drawing in media and critics, films can gain a boost that helps launch their campaigns and gain thus the attention of Oscar voters.
Animation Is Film, by setting itself up as a prestigious event, is vying for the attention of critics and locals alike. If all goes as planned, the festival will give its lineup of films a huge boost and place them on the radar of members of the Academy.
On the festival website it states that:
"A-list PR and media partners ensure wide exposure, industry awareness, and editorial coverage (in the lead up to awards season)... By combining unparalleled film programming with relentless promotion and outreach, the Festival will attract a sold-out-in-advance audience of influential LA film industry, general film enthusiasts, animation fans, and LA families and schools.
Even if the Academy refuses to nominate foreign, indie and traditionally animated films, the press coverage of the festival alone will help the movies gain public attention. Therefore, at best, the films screening at Animation Is Film could be the films to be nominated for Best Animated Feature Film, and at worst, the films will have gained recognition and attracted viewers. Either way, it's a win.
What do you think of the festival? Would you go? Let me know in the comments down below!