VFX Netflix Animation Showcase throws light on some amazing animated projects at Annecy -

Netflix Animation Showcase throws light on some amazing animated projects at Annecy

The Netflix Animation Showcase at this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival, featured award-winning filmmakers and the Netflix team, and celebrated Netflix’s variety of animated stories across its preschool, kids, anime, adult, and family tent poles films and series. The event was hosted by Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge.

The showcase began with an exclusive sneak peek of The Sea Beast, an epic sea monster adventure directed by Chris Williams, coming to the streaming platform on 8 July.

“When I was a kid, I loved big adventure stories like The Raiders of the Lost Ark, King Kong and Lawrence of Arabia, and I wanted to make a movie that captured that spirit. A movie that is forward looking and at the same time acknowledges its influences in those classic adventure stories,” said Williams in an official statement shared by Netflix.

Then, Wendell & Wild director Henry Selick introduced a clip from the animated tale starring Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key. 

From the mad geniuses that brought us CORALINE & GET OUT… meet WENDELL & WILD (Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), the hellishly funny personal demons of a teen named Kat. Directed by Henry Selick, co-written by Selick & Peele, coming to Netflix next year. Cr: Netflix © 2021

“As a filmmaker,  I believe animation isn’t a genre unto itself, it’s a way to tell all sorts of stories. I choose stop motion animation which is the oldest type of animation in fact of filmmaking that there is. Stop motion for me is the most magical way to tell stories. It feels like actual magic, real magic  and so that’s why I am going to stick with it  and why the stories I will choose to tell will be told in stop motion,” Selick said.

The director of My Father’s Dragon, Nora Twomey took to stage and spoke about working on the creative journey behind her film with the five-time Academy Award-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon. 

“The best thing about my job as a director is that I get to guide writers, storyboarders, character animators, FX artists and painters as they build worlds that feel real on an emotional level. I witnessed each artist’s thought process – the truth behind every hand-drawn frame. We were a team working together, yet often remotely, through challenging circumstances; each artist crafting a story to help us all feel like we’re not alone in this scary world,” said Twomey.

The Magician’s Elephant director Wendy Rogers presented a special video. “I  think we have been really lucky to be able to make this film at Netflix because there is no house style, so they are open to films that don’t fit a mold. This film is different from other films. It has a different tone.  I am very excited we are able to bring all of  the current animation technology and performance and the maturity of this art form into this film,” Rogers mentioned.

The co-directors of Nimona, Nick Bruno and Troy Quane spoke about their animated film based on the award-winning graphic novel by ND Stevenson which stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed and Eugene Lee Yang. Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, Nimona is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone. 

“This story has everything. Punk rock anarchy, murder, comedy, murder, knights, flying cars, shapeshifters, murder and love,” said Nick Bruno and Troy Quane.

They further mentioned, “We couldn’t do it alone and some real life heroes stepped up. We like to refer to them as our knights and also our chosen family – Annapurna, DNEG, and of course Netflix.”

With more than half of Netflix’s estimated global 222 million members having watched anime in the last year, the showcase gave a nod to upcoming anime projects including a sneak peek at Hiroyasu Ishida’s Drifting Home.

Talking about the origins of his film, Hiroyasu Ishida said, “For the longest time, I feel like I was drawn to the appearance of housing complexes. From the very beginning, I was wondering if there was a way of making a story out of the pair of characters, Kosuke and Natsume, and a housing complex setting. I kept brainstorming on paper, I somehow came up with a scenario that involved drifting. There was a drawing where I simply placed a single housing complex in the middle of the ocean. It was after this drawing that we were able to decide on the general direction of this project. It was the first big step.”

Up next was a presentation on the upcoming preschool series, Spirit Rangers created by Karissa Valencia and executive produced by Chris Nee.

“When I first met Karissa, I knew that she was a young, promising and talented storyteller, and when I found out that she was Native American, I knew that we needed her voice and I wanted to know what stories she wanted to tell from her unique point of view,” Nee said.

Speaking about the representation in the pre-school series, Karissa Valencia said, “Spirit Rangers has been a dream job for me. Not only do I get to make an epic, fantasy show, but I also get to battle those feelings of reassurance that Native kids still deal with today. I can’t wait for Native kids to see themselves on screen for the first time in a long time in modern space.”

My Dad The Bounty Hunter co-creator Everett Downing stated that the series “is a love letter to animation, science fiction and black families rolled into this action-packed comedy,” and co-creator Patrick Harpin added, “we thought of everything we loved about sci-fi and put it into the pot from, The Last Starfighter, to John Carpenter movies to The Fifth Element.”

In a new’ Inside the Animation’ video debuted, Love, Death + Robots executive producer and director David Fincher added, “My hope is that we never get to a point where we have succinctly defined what LDR is – that would be boring,” when discussing his directorial debut in animation Bad Travelling.

Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi, Fletcher Moules & Maurice Williams took to the stage to discuss their new television event, Entergalactic, which is set to premiere on Friday, 30 September on Netflix.

From the minds of Kid Cudi and Kenya Barris, Entergalactic is about two young artists navigating the twists and turns of finding love in New York City. 

Talking about the project Scott Mescudi said, “This is a modern day love story that will make you fall in love all over again.”

Netflix’s Animation showcase wrapped with a much anticipated exclusive never before seen look at Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Guillermo del Toro presented the upcoming stop-motion reimagining of the classic Italian tale.

“This is the decade where we can drive home the mantra we all know, that animation is film, animation is not a f***ing genre,” he added.