Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Mel Cooke Gleaner Writer

THE 2016 French An­i­ma­tion Film Fes­ti­val was held over two weeks but still man­aged to span two months, af­ter the of­fi­cial open­ing on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 26, screen­ings later that week, and then in early Novem­ber.

The fes­ti­val, or­gan­ised by Al­liance Française in Ja­maica, was also in­tended to bridge dis­tances among far-flung French-speak­ing coun­tries.

Ste­fane Da­ley of Al­liance Française said: “The main rea­son for putting on the fes­ti­val is to pro­mote French and fran­co­phone cul­ture in Ja­maica. And for this spe­cific fes­ti­val, Oc­to­ber is the month of an­i­ma­tion in France.”

Oc­to­ber 28 is In­ter­na­tional An­i­ma­tion Day, hon­our­ing film

pi­o­neer Emile Rey­naud and an­i­mated comics be­ing screened for the first time. This was done at the Musée Grevin, Paris, on Oc­to­ber 28, 1892.

The French have fol­lowed through on their pi­o­neer­ing an­i­ma­tion role and Da­ley said defini­tively that “the best an­i­ma­tion comes from France”. The coun­try is also an in­ter­na­tional hub for an­i­ma­tion, as the An­necy In­ter­na­tional An­i­mated Film Fes­ti­val takes place in An­necy, France, each June.

Nat­u­rally, France is a fo­cal point for French-speak­ing coun­tries and Da­ley said that in se­lect­ing the films for the an­i­ma­tion, one of the ob­jec­tives was to screen pro­duc­tions from var­ied Fran­co­phone ar­eas, in­clud­ing the Ivory Coast and Mozam­bique.

The four fea­tures shown were Adama (by Si­mon Rouby), Phan­tom Boy (Alain Gag­nol and Jean-Loup Fe­li­ci­oli), Aya de Yopougon (Mar­guerite Abouet and Cle­ment Oubrerie) and Bat­tle­dream Chron­i­cle (Alain Bi­dard). Ja­maican an­i­ma­tor Ke­mar McIn­nis’ Restau­rant Fuss and Ideas, were also screened. From left: Ste­fane Da­ley, act­ing ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Al­liance Française de la Ja­maïque; Kevin Jackson, pres­i­dent, Ja­maica An­i­ma­tion Na­tion Net­work; Ke­mar McIn­nis, lo­cal an­i­ma­tor; Am­bas­sador Jean-Michel Des­pax; and Gil­lian Whylie, pres­i­dent Al­liance Française.

Da­ley pointed out that the themes were var­ied, Adama is about war and a boy fol­low­ing his older brother; Phan­tom Boy be­ing about fam­ily fare; Aya de Yopougon pro­vid­ing laughs; and Bat­tle­dream Chron­i­cle, a sci-fi film which deals with slav­ery and the de­sire for free­dom.

She noted that “these are all qual­ity films, which have been nom­i­nated for or won awards. So, al­though the

fes­ti­val is free, it is qual­ity en­ter­tain­ment”.

The fes­ti­val was held at the Mul­tiFunc­tional Room, main li­brary, Univer­sity of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Cam­pus (the univer­sity’s De­part­ment of Modern Lan­guages con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the ac­com­mo­da­tion) and Da­ley said this helped pull in au­di­ences over the four nights.

With a full house on open­ing night and a “steady crowd” on the other three, Da­ley said the fes­ti­val at­tracted not only peo­ple who came specif­i­cally for it but also passers-by. While Al­liance Fran­caise did not ex­pe­ri­ence in­creased reg­is­tra­tion dur­ing the fes­ti­val, she said valu­able con­tacts were made.

There is a pos­si­bil­ity that the films will be shown again, but to a spe­cific The cover art for ‘Bat­tle­dream Chron­i­cle’. au­di­ence that might not have had a chance to at­tend the fes­ti­val, which started at 7 p.m., nightly.

“We are look­ing at do­ing screen­ings for high-school stu­dents. We are hop­ing to ar­range some days for them to come in,” said Da­ley.

For fu­ture stag­ings, she would like to have more in­put from Ja­maican an­i­ma­tors, point­ing out that it is a free plat­form for ex­po­sure. She is also hop­ing to be able to ac­cess a larger room at the UWI as the event grows.

The 2016 French An­i­ma­tion Film Fes­ti­val was spon­sored by To­tal Ja­maica, Na­tion­wide, the CHASE Fund, and the Modern Lan­guages Unit at UWI, Mona.


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