It’s that time of year again, when movie buffs, media students and animation geeks from all over the world swarm to Annecy for the week-long International Annecy Animation Film Festival. This year, the fashion seems to be badges on bags, although I did see one guy sporting his badges all over his jeans. Yes, his jeans were entirely covered in badges.
The festival is great fun, with outdoor freebie screenings most nights of the week, and lots of animation styles to keep everyone happy. I favour the shorts: a movie-length screening of around six or more short animations. That ten minutes or so when people are entering the cinema involves more than just a hum of chatter: it’s an opportunity to throw lots of paper planes. So, on top of walking up stairs while scanning the rows of people for a few empty seats, you also need to dodge the papers zooming around the room. Long paper plane flights get a round of applause and a cheer! I saw one guy last night collecting as many as he could from the aisle beside him to relaunch, while the guy in front of me ripped off another sheet from his notebook to start folding another plane.
In fact, the planes are so common at the festival, that they’re an integral part of this year’s animated trailer for the festival, which you can watch below (and yes, that’s the actual cinema at the end).
Thankfully, the planes stop flying as soon as the first animation starts. However, between animations, the “done thing” is to make a popping sound with your mouth. You know, when you were a kid and you’d stick a finger inside your mouth near your cheek, then flick it out to make a pop? That’s the sound that gets made between movies. This is a whole separate set of cultural norms that seem to exist in Annecy purely for the animation festival.
I guess it was nice to escape some aspects of French culture for the evening, but by the time I left that cinema, I was looking forward to a crepe and seeing men in stripy shirts and berets riding bikes with baguettes under their arms and saying “ooh la la” a lot to the background sounds of a piano accordion.