The Hive’s Unofficial Guide To Annecy International Animation Film Festival – PART 1

Every year in early June more than 10,000 animation lovers gather around in the world’s largest animation festival, the one that perfectly combines all four elements: screenings, a Business conference, events, and last but not least, Aperol Spritz. It’s the one and only, Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
We have no official ties to the festival; we just really love it and have been attending every year. Due to its large size, it could seem overwhelming at first, so we figured we could pass our knowledge on to fresh newcomers.


The festival takes place annually in early June.
In 2024 it will be held from June 9th to June 15th.



The city of Annecy, France, located near the Swiss-French border, close to Geneva and Lyon.

Inside Annecy, festival events take place in these marked areas:

The circle on the left marks the touristic old town of Annecy, where you will find beautiful ancient buildings, restaurants, shops, bars, and where you are most likely to lodge. The purple X is the  Bonlieu, Annecy’s cultural center, where the grandest screenings and events will take place, as well as some smaller ones.The center’s restaurant/bar is a good location for meetings.

The circle on the right marks Hotel Imperial, a large 19th century hotel and conference center, which hosts most MIFA events, including the market.



Many things happen simultaneously at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival:

  • The festival itself, which includes screenings of various animation films (short, feature, student, experimental, arthouse, commercial, young audiences, adults, etc.), as well as masterclasses, events, and a competition. Festival events take place in the Bonlieu, Pathé theaters, and other locations around the old town.


The Imperial Hotel, decorated for MIFA


  • MIFA: the Market, the business-oriented side of the festival, which is held at the Imperial Hotel. The heart of MIFA is a large exhibition space located in the gardens of the Imperial Palace, where industry players (production studios, broadcasters, distributors, gaming companies, tech companies), funds, country reps, press and others have stands (often referred to as “booths”) in which they present their work, seek collaboration opportunities, and hold meetings. It runs from Tuesday to Thursday.
    Other industry and press events take place at the hotel’s conference rooms. Such events include pitching events, workshops, masterclasses, panels and more.

Israel’s stand, MIFA 2022

Uri Lotan pitching one of his projects at a MIFA pitching event, 2023


  • Social life: With more than 10,000 animators bundled together in one small charming city, there’s obviously a lot going on.



How To Plan?

First of all, consider the purpose and style of your festival experience:


  • Festival goers: If you are going just for fun, for the experience, wanting to watch the world’s newest and most talked-about animation films, mingle with other creators, and have fun. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit for a dip in the lake.


  • Selected Filmmakers: If your film has been selected for a screening, then you’re coming to the festival and might want to hop into MIFA for a day or two for some meetings.


  • Industry Professionals: If you are coming in search of partners, investors, distributors for a project, your focus will be the MIFA, and in your free time, try to catch a film or two. We recommend attending some mingling events as well, some of the best connections are made outside of the meeting rooms.


  • Students: If you are a student, wanting a taste of Annecy, perhaps looking to meet future employers or find a place for an internship, you want to come to the festival and invest one day at the MIFA (students enjoy discounted MIFA accreditations). 


The busiest days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so if you’re on a tight schedule, these are the days for you. However, we warmly recommend adding a day or two, preferably Monday and Friday, to enjoy the experience. MIFA presenters can enter the venue on Monday to prepare their stands for Tuesday morning.


Where to stay?
Accommodation in Annecy during the festival is not cheap. It’s easier and cheaper to stay at an airbnb flat than a hotel.
Rooms sell out early, so it is recommended to book your room as early as possible, months in advance (like, NOW!).
If the budget is tight, consider sharing a flat with friends.
The marked area is the best and closest to stay in:

Staying away from the city center and planning to use public transportation is not recommended (especially for first timers), as public transportation is limited in the area, and ends early in the evening.

Most old buildings have narrow, circling staircases (and no elevators), so travel light!


How to get to Annecy?

Unless you live nearby and can get there by train, the easiest option is to fly to Geneva, and take a bus or shuttle from the airport. The shuttle takes about 40 minutes, and the bus a little longer.

During festival week, the festival operated shuttles (by vans) between the airport and the city. You need to book your shuttle in advance by email. The cost for a two-way ticket is around 60€. The shuttle will drop you off at your hotel/flat, and will pick you up from the same location at the end of your stay. Be aware that if your room is in the narrow streets of the old city, your shuttle might not be able to make it all the way to your location, but will drop you off at the nearest possible location. 

Alternatively, you can use public transportation – a bus or a taxi (taxis are not recommended due to the price).


So, What should you book in advance?

First, book your flight, room and buy your desired accreditation (more about accreditations in part 2, next week). Hurry up, as prices increase, availability decreases.

Other than that, you will need to reserve tickets for screenings and industry events (pitching, masterclasses, panels etc). The online system becomes available on a specific day and time, announced in advance. As the demand for tickets is incredibly high, you will need to do your homework, plan your desired events, and book them the second they become available. But that’s a subject for a different article.
If you desire to hold meetings with other professionals, you will need to book these appointments about 3 weeks in advance.
In most cases,  there’s no need to book restaurants or bars in advance.
Most receptions, parties and cocktails request RSVPs, but there’s time for that.


Want to know more? Read Part 2 of our guide >>>

An Unofficial Guide To Annecy International Animation Film Festival (PART 2)