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“We have a unique know-how”: why French animation is the most envied in the world

Supported by high-quality education, the French animation scene is renowned the world over, from Hollywood to Japan. BFMTV’s Jérôme Lachasse investigated this French cultural exception.

22 June 2023

BFMTV‘s Jérôme Lachasse investigated this French cultural exception; here are a few selected highlights from the article, which you can read in full here.

The French animation industry has never been so popular, and its talents are in demand the world over. Last May, studio La Cachette unveiled The Spy Dancer, a Star Wars short film produced for Disney. Mikros Animation was responsible for the animation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (in cinemas August 2), while French animators took part in the highly-anticipated The First Slam Dunk (July 26).

Philippe Alessandri, co-producer of Mars Express, an ambitious SF thriller selected at Cannes and the Annecy Festival, shares this analysis: “Someone working at Nickelodeon told me recently that she wanted to make a film in France, because she liked the ‘franime’, the way the French have digested Japanese animation. Unlike us, Americans haven’t digested it well, it’s too American, not Japanese enough.”

“The Americans respect us a lot for our high standards,” says Philippe Alessandri. “They know our budgets, and they can’t believe we’re able to release films of this quality. Mars Express has a budget of just 8 million euros.” They also appreciate the initiatives taken: “The Mikros Animation teams have really made the Ninja Turtles look their own. That doesn’t happen very often,” notes Jeff Rowe.

“France has succeeded in combining drawing and technology,” adds Benoît Chieux, whose film Sirocco opened the Annecy Festival. “Even the Japanese have a lot of trouble taking 3D into interesting graphic territory.” “French animators are among the best in the world, because France puts a lot of emphasis on art education, and has many cultural treasures,” adds Jeff Rowe, director of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. “They benefit from an immense cultural heritage.”