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Annecy for first timers

Creative Edinburgh member Denis Mallon shares his top tips for first time festival goers, following his trip to the 57th Festival International Du Film D'Animation

This feature was first published on Denis Mallon's blog.

Last week I made my first ever pilgrimage to Annecy, France, for the 57th Festival International Du Film D’Animation. About an hour from Geneva, the setting is a tres beau alpine town, cradled alongside the tranquil lake, snowcapped peaks, and medieval chateau. Annecy is a vast haven for film, TV, kids shows, artistic, experimental, big-budget, indie, animation of all shapes and sizes. Attracting 9,153 badge holders, with 85 countries represented and around 500 films screened during the Festival, this is Europe’s largest animation event. It was a glorious experience, but there are definitely things I wish I’d known before I went. Here are my top tips for Annecy first-timers...

#1 – Book early

Like Edinburgh Festival and Oktoberfest, this event takes over the town and accommodation fills up fast. Best to make sure you have your hotel or AirBnB sorted by January or February.

#2 – Choose your pass

The 2016 Festival had three accreditation options, with differing access to screenings, workshops and industry section MIFA. What you go for may depend on what you’re most interested in, and the size of your wallet. Even the basic pass offers lots of see, and plenty of chances to meet people.

#3 – Bring business cards

As well as watching animation, Annecy is also a huge networking opportunity. Even if you hate the N word, there’s no denying that it’s great to meet fellow film geeks. Business cards are the quickest way to exchange details, and easy to refer to if your memory is somewhat foggy after a late night in Captain’s Pub.

#4 – Hire a bike

The core of the festival takes place in the Centre Ville but there are outlying sites which are a good 30-40 minutes by foot. The public transport and event shuttles are ok, but not amazing. The best way to get around quickly is definitely on two wheels. With a public hire scheme near the main station, as well as ‘proper’ bike hire, there are plenty of options.

#5 – No reservation? No worries!

Screenings open for reservations a few weeks before the festival, and can be booked using the slick Annecy mobile app. The high profile events go quickly, but these are usually the films that will appear soon at your local multiplex. Smaller, more interesting screenings tend not to sell out. Even if you don’t reserve, you’ll be able to enter a short queue just before the film starts.

Have you been to Annecy? What were your experiences the first time? Let me know by tweeting me @DenAtWork

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