Netflix showcased a string of shows and films at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival last week, with its theme on diversity. Netflix’s focus, Variety reports, for its animation lineup is breaking down barriers among cultures, geographic borders, genders, animation formats, and representations.
Variety reports that The Willoughbys has been called a funny “crowd-pleasing family coming of age” where the protagonists, an isolated, old-fashion family living in an old fashion house, must grapple with the arrival of a baby on their doorstep, their parents heading off for holiday, and interacting with a modern world so different from their own. Canadian film director Kris Pearn worked in stop-motion at Aardman Animations in the U.K. and co-directed Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Terry Crews will join the voice cast as Commander Melanoff, a giant man who takes in the baby after being found at the Willoughbys.
Mama K’s Team 4
This show marks Netflix’s first animated African series, produced by South African animation studio Triggerfish Animation. Set in the near future, Mama K’s Team 4 tells the story of Chia, Mila, Wanga, and Zee, four girls recruited to save world in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The show is executive produced and written by Melenga Mulendema, a former journalist who had no previous experience in animation before Mama K’s Team 4.
City of Ghosts
Netflix describes City of Ghosts as “A young girl discovers stories around her city by communicating directly with the ghosts who inhabit it.” The series is directed by Elizabeth Ito, who worked on Adventure Time before City of Ghosts. She calls the show “a combo of documentary and fiction, taking real stories and turning them into fabricated composite stories.” The animation medium is novel: combining animated characters with ectoplasmic-looking ghosts, and real pictures of Los Angeles.
Dino Girl Gauko
Dino Girl Gauko, by Japanese producer Hitoshi Moji, incorporates 2D animation with dark humor to tell the story of Naoko, a normal girl who turns into a green, fire-breathing dragon whenever she get angry. It’s being targeted toward a tween/teen demographic. Variety adds: “Beneath the comedy, the series skewers the trials of a girl who doesn’t fit in the classical cannons of beauty – unless dragons are held to be beautiful – and can’t hide her frustration at that.”
These shows and movies look promising, coming from a diverse background of cultures, directors, producers, and animation mediums. Be on the lookout for these films and series on Netflix in the near future!