Véronique Encrenaz, Head of the Mifa, underlined that this year edition will bring more executives to Annecy than never before. Animation is in high demand, globally, so the executive indicated three main trends: more talent, technology and schools.
Véronique Encrenaz, Head of the Mifa highlighted that this year’s MIFA expects to have more delegates than in 2019, which was its record year already. ‘This means that it will be the biggest edition we ever had: animation is booming in all countries around the world, we will have the record number of 98 countries represented, which means that more and more countries count in animation now, and are developing projects, training, and the animation industry more widely’.
Covid has impacted the sector, but the executive said that some countries, due to their long history in the industry, ‘have been able to keep developing content’ and generating business: ‘MIFA is certainly an important moment all, to present new projects and to find the partners lost in the last two years. It is the sign that the industry will be able to gather again, exchange ideas, talk about the future projects. We know that Annecy is family for animators’, she completed.
Encrenaz emphasized that MIFA is ‘back to basics’ this year: ‘If pandemic has certainly led us to develop our online tools, the urge for this year was to be able to put infrastructures and tools back in place, after two years of online or hybrid editions. MIFA 2020 and 2021 were put in place in the urgency of the situation, forcing ourselves to modify our offer, processes, tools. We knew that in 2022, we would have to be back to the core of our activity, gathering the animation community for one week in Annecy, to contribute to the development and good health of the animation creativity and industry’.
‘Certainly, new ways exist to transform the way we organize our festivals or markets, but this has to be thought carefully, in order not to put in danger our events and the ecosystem that exists today to accompany everyone. Some countries are still unable to travel (China, Taiwan, Hong-Kong). They will be able to be in contact at distance with the attending professionals, and to present or consult content through the video library. Hybridity is something to be continued of course but we are actively working on it already, in all our activities along the year, and not only during Annecy festival in June’.
Business meetings are the core of MIFA, but also pitching sessions, talks with recruiters, conferences and panels with key decision makers from Amazon Studios, Netflix, AppleTV+, Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, Disney +, HBO Max, OCS, Benshi, Arte, BBC, ZDF, Ketnet, Groupe M6, RTE, CBC Kids, Grupo Globo, Rai Ragazzi.
Encrenaz indicates three main trends in the animation industry: ‘First, there is a need of talents for studios, so we are back with recruitment events and venues: 16 studios will be on a booth in the recruitment area, 1st floor of Mifa; 11 studios will organize a Talk with recruiters, one hour to put forward their work environment and detail the kinds of talents they will need for their coming projects; 68 recruiting sessions will take place on the 4th floor of the Imperial Palace, for 36 recruiting studios, who received more than 6 000 applications’.
Second, there is a growing presence in the new technology area: ‘New technologies area in the MIFA booths will show the latest softwares or materials allowing studios to produce with always more quality and quantity. Unity, Epic Games, Toonboom, Ubisoft, Celaction, Wacom, Lenovo, MSI, TV Paint, Blender, among others. Real time is certainly the most to be noted evolution, allowing studios to gain in time and cost’.
Third, and last, Schools: ‘There are more and more interactions between schools and studios, including in the Training Institute area of the MIFA, to adapt to the needs. Schools will have to adapt training to the real time and VR tools, in order to answer the demands of studios. Without mentioning the need of even more talents globally to be trained by schools’.
This year MIFA brings together 98 countries (vs. 82 in 2019). ‘Training an industry is developing in every country. We have been accompanying many countries in the development of their projects, for the last 5 to 10 years. The consequence is seen now with the presence of more countries: we will have 4 pitching sessions Malawi, Pakistan, Puerto Rico or Tajikistan, and nine Partner pitching sessions, from Nigeria, Canada, Korea, Switzerland, South America, South Africa, Colombia, Spain, and women associations’, explained the executive.
Gender equality and diversity are top priorities in the ever-evolving industry and MIFA is not the exception. ‘Proximity and bridges between the festival and market act in both ways: by discovering a content on the festival side that is promoting equality, inclusion and diversity certainly inspire many artists to produce the next films that will integrate those values’.
‘All techniques are represented, including a lot of 2D and stop motion. As of targets and topics, it reflects our today’s world, with migrations, wars, death, family ties, nature and ecology but also unexpected adventures and great personal stories. We could have expected many stories around Covid and pandemic, but it seems that, during that period, everyone went back to deep feelings, deep thoughts, to produce varied stories, not always dark, not always fun… as is life’, concluded Encrenaz.