On Monday, 14 June, Europe’s most important animation festival and the traditional International Animation Film Market (MIFA) opens in Annecy, France. The festival, in which Latvian films have been awarded for two years in succession, has selected two films by Latvian authors for its competition programmes this year as well, and Latvia will be represented in the special film market programme MIFA Focus.
The Annecy International Film Festival has been one of the world’s most important animation forums for 60 years, while the international film market MIFA is fully dedicated to animation and its manifestations in new technologies. After moving to the virtual environment last year, the festival returns in the traditional form this year, however, maintaining online opportunities for spectators from all over the world. The world premieres of two Latvian animated short films are planned in two different Annecy competition programmes.
On 15 June, the short film Comeback by Vladimir Leschiov will have its premiere on the large screen in the main short film competition programme of the festival (Sélection officielle). It is a deeply personal story about a childhood passion that makes its comeback in the life of an adult hockey fan. The director will join an online Q&A session from Latvia after the screening.
Watch the trailer here.
On the morning of 14 June, the animated short Panic, by artist Helen Ora (previously known as Elīna Dzelme-Maligina), in collaboration with director and producer Reinis Kalnaellis, will premiere in the Off-Limits short film competition. The artist created the animation for Panic by drawing by hand on printed video footage, and its story deals with Woman’s inner monologue or the cry of the soul, confronting the roles assigned to her by society. Author Helen Ora and producer Reinis Kalnaellis will take part in the live screening in Annecy.
Watch the trailer here.
Celebrating the fifth year of Latvia’s participation in the MIFA, several Latvian films have been included in the special programme MIFA Focus – most relevant regions in the animation industry are selected for this section through a competition every year. The Latvian presentation in the MIFA Focus is curated by the Latvian Animation Association in cooperation with the National Film Centre of Latvia, it looks at the ecosystem of the Latvian animation industry and shows excerpts from nine upcoming animated films. The presentation includes Atom Art’s current short films Kafka in Love with (director Zane Oborenko) and Guard of Honour (Edmunds Jansons), two projects from the Animācijas brigāde studio – the short film Angry Bag (Dace Rīdūze) and the animated feature Henry the Great (Jānis Cimmermanis). VFS Film offers excerpts from the film The Nap (Nils Skapāns) and the short film cycle Magic Wardrobe (Krista Burāne). Tritone Studio will present an upcoming animation series for children Kids Encyclopedia – Bobo and Marlo Explore the World (Aigars Gercāns), and excerpts from the upcoming animated features My Love Affair With Marriage (Signe Baumane) and The North Star (Kārlis Vītols)
Meanwhile, director Gints Zilbalodis and producer Matīss Kaža will present their upcoming animated feature project Flow at a separate event in the market section MIFA Pitches.
It should be noted that it was Gints Zilbalodis who started the brilliant relationship of Latvian animation with the Annecy Festival two years ago, when Zilbalodis’ film Away (2019) received the first main prize in the newly established feature film competition Contrechamp. In the second Contrechamp competition, the main prize was awarded to the Latvian film My Favorite War (2020), and its director Ilze Burkovska-Jakobsen has been invited to receive the prize in person this year.