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Luce Grosjean talks about The Sustainability Animation Residency (SAR) created in Southern France for environmentally-themed CGI projects. 

Southern France (and Arles in particular) has its new animation residency, both environmentally-minded and CGI-oriented. The Sustainability Animation Residency (SAR) was set up in cooperation between Schliemann Residency Provence and MIYU Distribution with the help of Do Not Disturb "to help amplify the urgency of environmental action with the powerful tools of animation".

With its own inaugural call for entries now open for CGI animation projects, Zippy Frames talked to Luce Grosjean, CEO of MIYU distribution, to learn more about the new residency project.

ZF: How did the SAR residency idea come through, and how long was it gestated/prepared?

LG: Since 2017 we’ve been working on the idea to create a residency for CGI animation with my colleagues from the Animation studios of Arles. But the lack of time and not finding appropriate places for a residency, the idea didn’t materialise. Initially the project was more centred around writing for CGI, more of a workshop than a proper writing residency...

Joana Schliemann approached us in July of this year. Joana founded Schliemann Residency Provence, an umbrella residency concept collaborating with different arts organisations to create different residencies in conjunction with local cultural institutions from Provence. One partnership is with Berlin Masters, inviting young photographers, VR and new media artist from Berlin. When Joana found out that Arles and it’s region have some of the best animation schools and studios, she was reaching out to set up a residency to support local talent and industry with the focus on sustainability. We seized the moment and got our heads together to make SAR happen. It’s a new format: for the time being just one artist at a time, but with the original objective: to give an upcoming CGI artist the opportunity, time and space to write and develop a new project.

We hope this will also revive additional initiatives with Do Not Disturb, our local animation organisation, to set up more workshops and programmes for the future.

ZF: Why do you focus on CGI projects exclusively here, and what is your overall purpose?

LG: It’s difficult to find places and opportunities to develop CGI short films. The CGI technique is mostly used for big budget films produced by studios like Pixar. I strongly believe we have room for other stories with this technique. Most residencies focus on handcraft animation and CGI artists rarely have the chance to develop different and more experimental projects without commercial pressure, free of their client’s or studio’s demands. I am convinced more creative freedom will result in a new type of CGI, very different from what we usually see in mainstream films.

ZF: Do you think that environmentally-themed animation shorts are under-represented?

LG: This was Joana’s prerequisite for our cooperation as she believes the environmental emergency needs to be addressed in a way everybody understands, across different cultural landscapes. Animation is the ideal art form to do exactly that: iconic, symbolic, visual with global appeal. And sustainability does not only refer to the environment as such, but also to social and economic issues. I believe anyone who has a compelling story to tell about these imperative issues affecting everybody will be welcome.

ZF: Do you accept animation documentaries as well or only fictional animation short film projects?

LG: Yes of course. Even experimental proposals are very welcome.

ZF: Do you prioritise young/emerging talents or other categories in terms of selection? Or perhaps the project itself matters the most?

LG: It is our first year for SAR, so I am really curious about the proposals we will receive. For now we’ll focus more on the content and topics the directors will present for their projects, but of course we will see how things are evolving in the future.

ZF: What is exactly the form of the Annecy Festival collaboration?

LG: There is not a formal collaboration with Annecy, but we would love to for the future! As we are in France and Arles is not far from the Festival, we figured it’s an amazing opportunity for the artists to present their project at the end of SAR to find potential production and finance partners.

ZF: I guess this residency wants itself to be sustainable throughout the years. First of all, do you have a Plan B for this year (In case the pandemic still persists)? Are your supporters/sponsors willing to go through in next residency editions as well?

LG: SAR is built around Joana Schliemann’s residency concept, so it does not make sense to have the residency continue without her. But the idea is, SAR is here to stay, even in Corona times. But we are developing other workshop projects in the region, something that we are working on!

More info and Call for entries for the SAR Residency

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