The Annecy 95 Festival by David Ehrlich

The Annecy Festival was a grand sprawling event, with simultaneous screenings of Competition Shows, Panoramas and Retrospectives throughout the city. It proved to be a bit too large and unwieldy for the ambitious organizers, however, and the result was a disorganized final prize-giving ceremony that was humiliating to the prize-winners as well as to all the filmmakers who were present. ASIFA is in the process of soliciting comments (positive and negative) on the Festival and will present them, with its own criticisms, to the Mayor of Annecy as well as the Festival Director. If you attended the Festival and wish your comments to be included, please fax them immediately to ASIFA's Secretary-General, Bordo Dovnikovic: 385-1 250 345.

One of the positive high points of the Annecy Festival was the retrospective of the films of the Chinese Director, Te Wei. ASIFA organized the show, wrote the catalogue text, and presented Te Wei with its ASIFA Prize. Our President, Michel Ocelot, delivered the Prize dedication in French and English while Swiss Director, Georges Schwizgebel, gave the Chinese translation:

"Te Wei was one of the two founders of the Shanghai Animation Studio in 1957 and served as co-Director of the Studio until the chaotic years of the Revolution when the Studio was forced to stop production and he was severely criticized. He regained his position in 1976 and, without bitterness or regret, he gently proceeded to lead the Studio and its artists into a Golden Age of animation during which the Shanghai Animation Studio became known throughout the world for its artistic excellence.

"As an artist in his own right, it is with "Where is Mama", "Buffalo Boy and the Flute", and "Feeling From Mountain and Water", that Te Wei made his greatest contribution. Adapting the rigorous discipline of traditional Chinese brush painting to animation, Te Wei has given us a body of work that truly expresses both in its form and its content, the grace and stillness of nature and man's place within it.

"For his courage and quiet strength as a human being, for the enduring quality of his artistic contribution. and for his leadership of the Shanghai Studio during those turbulent years, we are honored this year to present the ASIFA Prize to Te Wei. In paying tribute to Te Wei, ASIFA wishes to acknowledge those others in our art who have, despite their hardships and suffering, managed to persist in their creation and have left us not only with artwork of lasting vitality but with a faith in the courage and strength that may lay within us."

Grand Prize for Best Animated Film was shared by "Switchcraft" by Konstantin Bronzit of Russia, and "Gary Larson's Tales from the Far Side" by Marv Newland, Canada/USA. A Special Prize awarded unanimously by both judges went to "Repete" by Michaela Pavlatova, Rep. Tcheque, with Special Distinctions going to the following: "About Love" and "Fly" by Andrej Ushakov, Russia, "Le Moine et le poisson" by Michael Dudok de Wit, France, and "Aahhh !!! Real Monsters" by Igor Kovalyov, USA. The Short Films and Features Prize was awarded to "Bob's Birthday" by Alison Snowden and David Fine, Great Britain/Canada, with other prizes going to "Stressed" by Karen Kelly, Great Britain, "Gagarin" by Alexij Knaritid, Russia, "My Baby Left Me" by Milorad Krstic, Hungary, "Mrs. Matisse" by Debra Solomon, USA, "Heisei tankuki gassen Pompoko" by Isao Takahata, Japan and "Close to You" by Maciek Albrecht, USA/Pologne. The UNICEF prize for Short Films went to "Rights From the Heart" by Jacques Drouin, Canada and the Best Student Film winners were "The Wooden Leg" by Dowen Doherty, Great Britain and "Annie" by Christine Ferriter, USA.