GKIDS, Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Variety Launch "Animation Is Film" Festival

INAUGURAL EDITION TO TAKE PLACE OCTOBER 20-22, 2017 AT MANN'S CHINESE THEATER IN LOS ANGELES

ANNECY, FRANCE (June 16, 2017) - GKIDS, the acclaimed producer and distributor of animation for adult and family audiences, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the world's leading animation Festival and Market, and Variety magazine, have announced the launch of ANIMATON IS FILM, an annual animation film festival in Los Angeles. The first edition will run October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood (Mann's Chinese Theater) with a showcase of 20 programs including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives and short film programs.

ANIMATION IS FILM aims to fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia - and locating it in the world capital of animated filmmaking. The Festival will be a vocal advocate, in the heart of Hollywood, for excellence in animation, and for filmmakers who push the boundaries of their art to the fullest range of expression that the medium is capable of.

The mission of the Festival is to:
* Present a highly selective, annual showcase of the best new works of animation from around the world, with programs for both adults and families.
* Champion and support filmmakers who use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable o f.
* Champion and support women filmmakers.
* Champion and support filmmakers from a wide range of cultural, economic, and national backgrounds.
* Support communication, understanding and positivity in the world.

The Festival Organizing Committee includes:
* Eric Beckman - Founder and CEO, GKIDS, Co-founder, New York Int'l Children's Film Festival
* Patrick Eveno - CEO, CITIA - Annecy International Animation Film Festival
* Mickaël Marin - CITIA Managing Director, Head of Economic Development & Mifa
* Marcel Jean - Artistic Director, Annecy International Animation Film Festival
* Michelle Sobrino-Stearns - Group Publisher, Variety
* Steven Gaydos - Executive Editor, Variety
* Peter Debruge - Chief Film Critic, Variety
* Fumi Kitahara - Chair of Publicity, Women in Animation

Of the Festival, GKIDS Founder and CEO Eric Beckman said, "Creating a stateside film festival that recognizes the highest aspirations of animation as a cinematic art form has long been a dream of GKIDS. We are thrilled that Annecy and Variety have partnered with us to launch Animation is Film and bring exceptional animated filmmaking from around the world to audiences in Los Angeles, the world capital of filmmaking. We look forward to working with an expanding group of partners and supporters to grow the festival over the coming years."

"The Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market are excited to be working together with Variety and GKIDS to create Animation Is Film. This new event is a wonderful opportunity to radiate animation and all its diversity in the heart of Hollywood and is a very important step in our strategy to expand abroad. The festival is another occasion, following Annecy Goes to Cannes and the creation of the Annecy Asia International Animated Film Festival in Seoul, to promote films and artists from all over the world to an even wider audience."

"We are honored to partner with GKIDS and Annecy to bring the best of animated films to Los Angeles through the launch of Animation Is Film," said Variety Group Publisher and CRO, Michelle Sobrino-Stearns. "The festival will be a champion of excellence in animation, an exciting audience event, and a significant new addition to the cultural landscape of Los Angeles."

ABOUT GKIDS
GKIDS is the acclaimed producer and distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since 2009, the company has scored nine Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations- with The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, Ernest & Celestine in 2014, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea in 2015, Boy and the World and When Marnie Was There in 2016, and My Life as a Zucchini in 2017. (For comparison, no other indie distributor has even one nomination in the category.) GKIDS is in production on Cartoon Saloon's The Breadwinner, which they are slated to release stateside in 2017. GKIDS also handles North American theatrical distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world's most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS founder and CEO Eric Beckman co-founded of New York International Children's Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying event and North America's largest film festival for children and teens. www.GKids.com

ABOUT ANNECY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATED FILM FESTIVAL
The Festival attracts a very diverse audience, from established animators to budding artists, from filmmakers and producers to teachers and students, from graphic designers and artists to long- standing fans and novices: Annecy unites the general public and animation buffs. Come along to discover the films in the Official Selection: feature films, short films (we've kept the "Off-Limits" category and added two new ones, "Perspectives" and "Young Audiences"), TV and commissioned films, graduation films, as well as tributes, retrospectives, screening events, open-air screenings on a giant screen... and not forgetting VIPs, signing sessions, exhibitions, audacious programmes, surprise screenings and some wonderful meetings. With almost 10 000 participants, 95 countries represented and some 500 films screened, you will be immersed in an incredible atmosphere full of excitement.

Don't miss the animation industry's foremost showcase in terms of co-producing, purchasing, selling, financing and distributing animation content for all broadcasting platforms. The Mifa, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015, is held in over 6 000 m2 of exhibition space and welcomes over 3 000 attendees and 660 international exhibiting companies.

Headed up by Patrick Eveno, CITIA organises the International Animation Film Festival and Market (Mifa) and the Forum Blanc. It also contributes to developing the local economy by offering training possibilities, supporting specialised companies and hosting the sector's unifying space Les Papeteries - Image Factory. CITIA is a resource and expertise centre in the field of images and creative industries, covering culture, economy and training/research.

For more information: www.annecy.org - www.citia.org

ABOUT VARIETY
Variety remains the seminal voice of the entertainment industry for 112 years and counting. Featuring award-winning breaking news reporting, insightful award-season coverage, must-read feature spotlights and intelligent analysis of the industry's most prominent players, Variety is the trusted source for the business of global entertainment. Read by a highly engaged audience of industry insiders, Variety's multi-platform content coverage expands across digital, mobile, social, print and branded events and summits.

In 2015 and 2016 Variety's "Actors on Actors" on PBS was awarded the Emmy for best entertainment programming at the Television Academy's 67th and 68th Los Angeles area Emmy Awards. "Actors on Actors," an interview special that features pairings of prominent actors discussing their craft, was produced by PBS SoCal in partnership with Variety Media, LLC. Follow Variety on Facebook facebook.com/variety; Twitter, @variety; Instagram, @Variety; Pinterest and Snapchat. The Variety Group - Variety, Variety.com, Variety Insight, IndieWire, LA 411, NY 411 - is owned by Variety Media, LLC, a division of Penske Media Corporation.

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