New York, NY (December 8, 2023) — The French Institute Alliance Française announces the program for the seventh annual Animation First, the only U.S. festival dedicated to showcasing the legacy and innovation of Francophone animation. FIAF is thrilled to celebrate the seventh edition of its popular festival, which expands this year from a three-day to a six-day festival due to increased popularity, running from Tuesday, January 23 through Sunday, January 28.
This year's festival presents seven feature-length films (including three U.S. and three New York premieres), six short film programs, a "First Look" presentation, filmmaker talks, the annual Student Short Film Competition, and much more. New for 2024 will be the premiere of an inaugural limited-edition Animation First series poster, a juried competition of the New Francophone shorts, and a special spotlight on Québécois animated cinema. Animation First programmers are Delphine Selles-Alvarez, FIAF Film Curator, and Chloé Dheu, FIAF Film Coordinator. “This year’s festival celebrates the power of animation to explore thought-provokin
The festival opens with the New York premiere of director Jérémie Périn’s futuristic sci-fi film noir Mars Express, a prescient narrative that sparks the current conversation about AI anxiety through pop culture references and hard-boiled themes. The centerpiece film is the New York premiere of Benoît Chieux’s Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams, a surreal tale of two sisters trapped in the world of their storybook. The closing night film is the U.S. premiere of Sepideh Farsi and Zaven Najjar's The Siren, a powerfully visceral odyssey that follows a 14-year-old navigating the aftermath of an Iraqi missile strike in 1980 Abadan. Additional features include Pablo Berger’s popular Spanish-French film Robot Dreams, the New York premiere of filmmakers Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli’s Nina and the Hedgehog's Secret; the U.S. premiere of Cameroonian directors Daniel Minlo and Cyrille Masso’s The Sacred Cave, and the U.S. premiere of Quebec filmmaker Joël Vaudreuil’s new film, When Adam Changes. The festival’s six short film programs include Best of Annecy, Best of Annecy WTF, New Francophone Shorts 1 and 2, National Film Board of Canada Shorts, and Cinémathèque Québécoise.
New for 2024 will be the premiere of an inaugural limited-edition Animation First series poster. FIAF is excited to have commissioned illustrator Peter de Sève to create the first Animation First poster, which will be printed in limited-edition by Posteritati. For the first time, Animation First will have a juried competition for its New Francophone Shorts program. The jury for the New Francophone Shorts program will be made up of industry professionals including film curator Marco de Blois, director and animator Candy Kugel, and illustrator Marcos Chin. Also new for 2024, FIAF is pleased to present Animation Speak/Easy. For this special gathering, three guest artists will be asked to share an animated short that inspires them, after which an audience discussion will ensue. This year's festival will also bring a focus on Québécois animation. The Québécois programs will include Montreal filmmaker Joël Vaudreuil's U.S. premiere of When Adam Changes, a talk with Montreal based filmmaker Janet Perlman, and two shorts programs: National Film Board of Canada Shorts and Cinémathèque Québécoise. Returning for the 2024 festival will be the popular Animation Jam, the 48-hour student exercise to complete an animation sequence, and free AR/VR experiences in the FIAF Library including the U.S. premiere of Gaudi, the Atelier of the Divine and Plastisapiens, with more titles to be added.
About Animation First
Created in 2018, Animation First is the only film festival in the United States dedicated to French animation.
Today, France is Europe’s largest producer and the world’s third-largest exporter of animated film. Since its early beginnings in the late 19th century when Émile Reynaud projected his Pantomimes Lumineuses at the Musée Grevin in Paris, the French animation industry has inspired filmmakers and artists. Their resulting experiments with puppets, cutouts, and stop motion, have been instrumental in inventing important techniques in cinema. Renowned for its stylistic innovation and an approach that integrates artisanal methods with technological ingenuity, French animation continues to garner awards worldwide and spans a diversity of genres. It is responsible for a variety of films from independent art-house successes such as Sylvain Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville and Michael Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle to those for mature audiences like Persepolis and I Lost My Body to the Franco-American Despicable Me franchise.
Beyond films, France has carved out an important space in animated TV programs, web series, video games, and the rapidly developing fields of virtual reality and new technologies.