From Window Horses to Power Couples: An Update from Annecy 2016

Midway through the world’s largest annual celebration of animated film, Tania Parisella (Director, Marketing & Research) shared a few thoughts from Annecy, France.


3cec242Tania Parisella

Tania has been working the field of communications, marketing and sponsorship for over 15 years. In the past, Tania has held positions alongside elected officials on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and at the National Assembly in Quebec City, in public relations agencies, and at the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). Tania joined the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) in 2011 as the Manager of Communications, Marketing & Sponsorship. In 2014, Tania was appointed Director, Marketing & Research, and her team focuses on managing the VEC’s brand while positioning Vancouver as a globally recognised city for innovative, creative and sustainable business.

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For those who are unfamiliar with the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, it is arguably the world’s largest celebration of the art of animation. Screening across the French city are feature length films to advertising shorts in 3D as well as hand-drawn, collage-style and avant-garde genres.

It’s obvious to me that Vancouver’s brand as a destination for animation excellence has continued to grow since the VEC began attending the Festival international du film d’Annecy back in 2014.

One of the major highlights at this year’s festival is the Canada Pavilion. This is Canada’s first official foray into this market, though the Canadian brand has been felt for years thanks to Vancouver’s presence in the last two editions of the Festival. This year, the Federal government has invested in setting up a large, welcoming Canada Pavilion on the trade floor. It received support from all the major provincial creative agencies, including Creative BC. The pavilion also includes a multitude of Canada-based exhibitors, including the VEC. The overall Canada brand will also get an additional boost due to its presence as part of the Annecy Territory Focus, where it joins four other territories being spotlighted – Flanders, France and Tokyo.

MIFA—the international marketplace for talent and collaboration, essentially, the business side of the festival—is buzzing with activity. In terms of business development opportunities, Annecy is an unparalleled opportunity for talent, investors and other animation specialists to seek opportunities for employment, co-productions and networking. The VEC is working hard to help connect the Vancouver delegation to the right people. This year, the city has 9 studios participating in various roles at Annecy 2016 and it’s clear from our collective experiences so far that Vancouver’s reputation as a thriving city for the animation industry has been solidified. Our past efforts at Annecy demonstrate that people are taking note of Vancouver as a world-class hub for animation and our studios are busy taking meetings to discuss talent recruitment and partnership opportunities. The VEC’s sector-focused collateral is helping them tell the Vancouver story.

One of the many bright points of our Vancouver contingent is Window Horses, a feature length animated film in competition for the Cristal Prize at Annecy. In the wake of its world premiere yesterday, there has been a substantial amount of media exposure and attention from festival goers. While celebrity names like Ellen Page (Kelly) and Sandra Oh (Rosie) have drawn attention to Window Horses, the feature length film is intimately tuned to cultural dissonance, womanhood and artistic passion. It is a triumph of Canadian storytelling—the brainchild of award-winning filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming (Stickgirl Productions, Sleepy Dog Films). We are both fortunate and proud to have her represent Vancouver in Annecy as well as on the Canada panel during the Territory Spotlight.

To close, a fun factoid has come to my attention—this year’s Vancouver delegation is as strong as ever and also happens to contain three animation power couples. Indeed, the brains behind Flying Kraken, Global Mechanic and Bardel Entertainment are all headed by real life couples. It’s yet another testament to Vancouver’s close-knit animation eco-system!

For a media release naming the full list of attending studios, see here.