There was a lot going on at the Annecy Film Festival in Annecy, France, and in its At Home version today! I was fortunate enough to be able to screen two films (reviews to come) and watch three virtual panels from Disney, Warner Media, and Illumination. Here’s some highlights of each panel:
The Walt Disney Company: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
First up, Orion Ross (VP Animation Digital & Acquisitions) and Shamik Majumdarve (Creative Drector, Original Programming, Animation EA) presented the work Disney’s international branch is doing and what kind of content they are looking for from creators. For example, a show called Miraculous has been a big hit. Also, they are working on a new show with Cartoon Saloon called Viking Skool (as a huge Cartoon Saloon fan, this was very exciting!).
They recommend anyone hoping to pitch new shows to have a defined sense of place and make sure to get your work out there in any way you can such as Vimeo or YouTube.
In addition, a new Chip and Dale show is coming to Disney+ on July 23rd that was entirely made in Europe.
Warner Media and Cartoon Network
After Disney, I watched the Warner Brothers panel which was more of an interview with Adina Pitt (Content Acquistions and Co-Productions for Cartoon Network). A main emphasis is working to build on what they already have in both platforms to become more inclusive and appeal to more demographics. For example, they are trying to create preschool content and 6+ shows. Pitt says “The whole idea is to be as ambidextrous as possible.”
Pitt also said they are looking to tell stories based on folklore from around the world. ”How many times have we heard Grimm’s stories? Let’s move beyond to folklore from Africa, China, Brazil, etc.”
Illumination: Making Joy & Discovery
Illumination stole the day with their delightful panel. They had five different female creators: Amélie PARAÏSO (Head of Recruitment), Dawn Yamazi (VP Talent Recruitment), Mathilde Chambras (Recruitment Manager), Deb Stone (Talent Recruitment), and Kenza Chehadl (Recruitment Coordinator). The panelists were from both the LA and the Paris side of things, and they did mention that things are still growing for female representation in the technical side of things, but they all felt supported in their careers. This goes along with my findings in my piece I did last year on Women in Animation.
These five women seemed super fun and positive, which made me happy to see Illumination doing such a great job with its diverse workforce. They started with an engaging presentation going through the various departments at both the LA and Paris studios, showing how they all work together to produce films. Even as a non-Minion fan, I enjoyed the presentation very much. They also reiterated the studio’s commitment to the theatrical experience and that Sing 2 will be released during the holidays and Minions 2 in 2022.
What do you think of these panels? Which one would you like to attend? Like I said, I will have some reviews coming for you. Thanks so much and cheers from virtual Annecy!
Edited by: Kelly Conley