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One winner, four finalists to represent Nigeria at the 2021 Annecy International Film Festival

The pair of Mbuotidem Johnson and Ukpeme Uwakwe were selected as winner, while Egbelughe Philip and Stanlee Ohikhuare, Oyikan Odunlami and Temidayo Odunlami, Brian Wilson and Eseme Joseph, Oluwayomi Oluwasegun Samson and Omotunde Akiode were selected among the top five finalists with the best creative animation projects in Nigeria to pitch their works as part of the Nigerian focus during the 2021 edition of the renowned Annecy International Film Festival in France.

Annecy International Film Festival is the world’s top reference for animation films. It gathers every year in the city of Annecy, based in the French Alps with over 13, 000 industry professionals from all around the world in attendance.

In the wake of its 2021 edition and its focus on Africa, Annecy and the MIFA (Annecy International Animation Market) expressed their interest in Nigeria by offering young talents the opportunity to develop their projects. The focus on supporting creatives within Nigeria is hinged on the growing impact of the animation sector in the job market and the Nigerian economy.

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Ahead of the upcoming 2021 Annecy International Film Festival, in partnership with Animation Nigeria, and the French Embassy in Nigeria, organized a pitching workshop in a competitive format for seven selected Nigerian animation studios to stand a chance to win an all expense flight and accommodation trip to participate at the international festival while the other finalist will have the opportunity to pitch their project at the international event as part of a focus on Nigeria, in front of an audience of international professionals.

According to Géraldine Baché, responsible for MIFA Pitches, “For several years now, we have been closely following what is happening in animation on the African continent and had noticed the energy that was particularly evident in Nigeria. The workshop co-constructed with local players confirms the presence of talented and promising directors on the territory, but also the need to accompany them in a demanding and competitive sector, so that their projects are strong enough to face the market. We therefore bring them to question themselves so that they can find aesthetic and narrative solutions themselves and come out of this experience stronger.”

Yoann Talhouarne, regional audiovisual attaché at the French Embassy in Nigeria, affirms that “Our support to the Annecy Film Festival and to the Nigerian Animation Industry was made possible thanks to a Fund for Innovative Projects, dedicated to the development of Cultural and Creative Industries in Nigeria. It has been entrusted to us for a period of two years by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and aims at stimulating capacities building”.

Damilola Solesi of Animation Nigeria, stated that, “Animation Nigeria as an association of skilled professionals is grateful for the beneficial partnership with the French government in enabling the growth of the local animation industry and the opportunities the partnership has created for its members. In the past, this partnership has granted us a platform to showcase our work globally and has been greatly instrumental in placing Nigerian animation on the world map. Also, it has trained talent in critical skills, while stimulating greater connectedness among the players in the industry. Through its various initiatives, it has helped to drive a more positive narrative about the Nigerian animation space and the world has noticed. All this progress has led to this point where at ANNECY, there would be a focus on Nigeria and our member studios granted a chance to once again, showcase their work on a global platform. This development holds significant potential to further drive attention to this nascent industry.

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