Your Guide to the Best Animation Conferences in the World

ANIMATION CONFERENCES

2024-2025

Travel, Learn, & Network as an Animator or an Animation Industry Professional

The Best Animation Conferences & Festivals

Welcome to the Best Animation Conferences in 2024 and 2025, a guide to which festivals and professional conferences you should attend virtually or in person (if you have both money and time). Like my 2023 list, this year’s guide keeps two things in mind: a great festival culture for those in attendance and a top-notch professional experience for those animators and animation industry folks looking to network with the elite decision-makers.

The best animation conferences come from all over the globe and span the entire calendar year.

However, you’ll notice two clusters. Europe dominates. And April and October are conference- and festival-heavy. When I saw the animators and best animation shorts in the festival agendas, I included mentions in the conference profiles. When I saw animation industry professionals I’d give my business card to, I certainly also mentioned them. Let this list be the start of your networking. Get out there this year and shack some hands, yea?

Without further ado, here are my picks for the animation conferences and festivals of the year. »

My Top 4

What are the Best Animation Conferences in the World?

Best All-Around
Annecy Festival
Annecy Festival 2024 city illustration of the site of the Worlds Best Animation Conferences
Annecy, France
Best Festival Feel
ITFS
Stuttgart, Germany's main animation conference & festival, the ITFS
Stuttgart, Germany
Best Tech Education
Adobe Max
Image showing a beach in Los Angeles, home of Adobe Max conference for animators and After Effects artists in 2023
Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Best Dealmaking
MIPCOM
City illsutration of Cannes, France, showing the location of 2024's MIPCOM animation conference
Cannes, France

May 2024

The Art Department Berlin 2024

May 25th, 26th — Berlin, Germany (onsite and virtually)

Let’s go to Germany for the spring and head to the capital for an art experience that only Berlin can deliver. Our second Art Department conference is again chock full of inspiration — and this inspiration is coming from the artists it includes in its programming.

First off, the location is a cool one. We’re in the Old Mint, on the banks of the Spree River. This is a communal artist space throughout the year in one of Berlin’s most eclectic neighborhoods.

Like its Rotterdam sister conference, the level of animated art that gets shown here will be the draw for this conference. The list of artists will be posted closer to the conference launch in late May 2024. Stay tuned.

Central Europe's host city Berlin, site of an animation conference in 2024

June 2024

Annecy Festival 2024 city illustration of the site of the Worlds Best Animation Conferences

Annecy Festival

June 9th to the 15th, 2024 — Annecy, France (onsite and virtually)

My top pick for the best animation conference in the world is no surprise: the Annecy Festival. Or the Festival d’Annecy. Or the more wordy Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Market.

This is the conference every lover of animation should attend at least once in his or her lifetime. Why? It’s the world’s largest event dedicated to animation. It’s in a lovely part of France. It’s where the next generation of animators get their break. And it’s an experience like no other. When animation is placed on such a pedestal, as only the French can do, you can only be swept away.

The Annecy Festival has been going on for 60 years. The 2024 edition will have it all: massive screenings of top-tier animation, workshops, and the Mifa, one the world’s best places to do business both in person and virtually. If you’ve only got one event, put this animation conference on your schedule.

SEPTEMBER 2024

In Motion Rotterdam 2024

September 19th & 20th, 2024 — Rotterdam, Netherlands (onsite and virtual)

Like its sister festival in London, the Rotterdam version of the In Motion conference gives a major platform to animators to talk about their work. Last year, such luminaries as Tom CJ Brown and one of my favorites, UglyStupidHonest, were there.

While the full speaker list is still being formulated, One artist I am already excited to hear from and see his new works is Vincent Schwenk.

The curators of animation at In Motion’s parent company, Playgrounds, have already proven themselves with their past animation and design conferences. In fact, I’ve got four of their events on this list alone. So check out one of them live or in person and get the animation inspiration you need.

Image for the best animation conference guide of 2023 and 2024, showing Rotterdam in the Netherlands
Skyline of New York City, site of a great animation conference in 2023

Pictoplasma

September 19th & 20th, 2024 — New York City, U.S.A. (onsite and virtual)

Crossing the Atlantic for our next animation conference, finally, the States puts up an offering — and judging by its artist invite list for 2023 — Pictoplasma NYC is quite an offering.

Take a look at the speaker list from last year: Andy J. Pizza, Dêdouze, Matt Furie, and Zutto (+ more.) I like the vibe of the conference curation. The artists are front and center on the website and in the programming. And the animated shorts and featured films that are screening this year are fantastically ‘out there’ and unlike the safe, vanilla screenings showing at some other festivals.

As Pictoplasma themselves say, the animations are “full of psychedelic eye candy, virtual popcorn, and ingenious storytelling.” Love it.

It’s not too late to submit your character-driven animation to the 2025 edition of the festival!

Ottawa International Animation Festival

September 25th to the 29th, 2024 — Ottawa, Canada (onsite and virtual)

And now for Canada’s premier animation conference and festival: the Ottawa Internation Animation Festival. This is a heavy-hitter in world animation. So stretch your travel budget or at the very least log on. This festival has been going since 1974. It’s always a showcase for the style of animation coming to our screens. Plus, Canadian animators always ‘punch above their weight’ on the world stage.

Standouts at last year’s festival include:

  • Kid Koala ‘Let’s Go’ (Sylvie Trouvé, Dale Hayward)
  • I Took a Lethal Dose of Herbs (Yvette Granata, United States)
  • Knit’s Island (dirs. Quentin L’helgoualc’h, Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, France)

Don’t forget to hobnob when you’re in Ottawa! CMF, Nickelodeon, Studio Smokescreen, and Warner Brothers Discovery are supporting last year’s Art + Biz conference; expect that type of exposure. So get your portfolio and your personality in tip-top shape

Image for the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the largest conference of its kind in Canada

October 2024

Image for an animation conference guide in London, England

In Motion London 2024

October 10th and 11th, 2024 — London, England (onsite and virtual)

The In Motion festivals are always well-curated and this year they bring their conference to London for the first time. A unique feature of In Motion London 2024 is its focus on animation and motion design. But what I like about this particular conference (and its sister one in Eindhoven below) is the platform it gives individual artists.

I’m personally interested in hearing and seeing what Becky & Jo is all about!

As an animator who doesn’t fear the use of generation AI in animation, I want to hear what these artists are saying about the future of animation.

Adobe Max

October 14th to the 16th — Miami, Florida, U.S.A. (onsite and virtual)

This is a big animation conference if you’re an After Effects user. And Adobe puts on quite an event! With conference tracks for 3D, illustration, and motion design, Adobe Max has a lot of content for any animator. Workshops form the basis of the conference, and expert talks from artists and agency heads make this conference different from all the other conferences on this list.

There are a few notables from last year: Unmesh Dinda from PiXimperfect and Renard Jenkins, President of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

In 2024, I’d be looking at this Adobe Substance 3d demonstration or how about this source of inspiration at the intersection of street art, software, and community.

If you’re looking for the next big technique or technical breakthrough in the animation industry, this conference is a probable place to learn about it first.

Illustration for the 2024-2025 animation conferences list
Illustration of Torino, Italy, the location of one of the world's best animation conferences

View Conference 2024

October 14th to the 19th — Torino, Italy (onsite and virtual)

Ok. This is animation conference is something. Looking at the speakers’ list in 2023, it made my Top 4 that year. Henry Selnick headlined. Joaquim Dos Santos, Director of Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse, was there. Netflix Animation, Paramount Animation. Sony. You get the picture.

Hearing from these top names is one thing. The View Conference also delivers on other fronts, too. Last year’s program was broken into numerous tracks, all of them competing for your attention: On Metaverse, On Animation, On Games, On VFX,  On Storytelling, On VR/AR/XR, On Career Journey to name a few. Seminars on Blender, training on storyboarding.

in 2024, this is the current speaker list and it’s growing. I’d like to see this Tim McLaughlin speech.

What’s not to like about View?

As a serious animator, the View Conference is a must-attend once in your life. Wedge it between the MIP conferences in Cannes. (Or do as I plan to do, and attend virtually in my pajamas.)

MIPJUNIOR 2024

October 19th & 20th, 2024 — Cannes, France (onsite and virtual)

Brush up on your French, practice your pitch and your handshake, and head to the South of France where the Who’s Who of the animation industry go to make deals. The first of the two ‘MIP” conferences runs for three days in mid-October. MIPJUNIOR, as the conference name suggests, is known for its festival screenings of children’s programming, including kids’ animation.

Go for the screenings but stay for the co-production market. Walt Disney, Jim Henson Productions, and Gaumont are just a few of the major studios that will be there.

This conference and its big brother, MIPCOM, mean serious business. If you have an animation project to pitch and you have the ability to be in Cannes, you should make the journey. If you’re a fan of sunny beaches, animated shorts, and frenzied media executives on their mobile phones, you should make the trip, too.

Illustration of the waterfront of Cannes, France, home of the MIPJUNIOR festival
City illsutration of Cannes, France, showing the location of 2024's MIPCOM animation conference

MIPCOM Cannes 2024

October 21st to the 24th, 2024 — Cannes, France (onsite and virtual)

France again shows its strength on the animation conference circuit. MIPCOM is quite simply where you want to be, whether to strike a business deal for your animated property or gain a foothold in the TV industry.

The heart of the conference is the Co-Production Market. The market has a 1000-square-meter theater and a huge networking space.  This is where co-production partnerships are explored and financing deals are often done. What animation gets seen around the world is often talked about in what is known as the Seaview Producers Hub.

A few standouts from last year’s conference: the Unlocking AI Summit on Day Three looks like a winner. And the AI & Data Roundtables: Harnessing the Power of Tech. In 2024, I like the idea of this match-making service for animation producers and platforms.

November 2024

Manchester Animation Festival

November 10th to the 15th, 2024 — Manchester, England (onsite and virtual)

I haven’t talked about awards, but if seeing yourself on the red carpet, especially at the Oscars, is important, then you’ll want to be aware of the Manchester Animation Festival. MAF (as it’s known) has recently become an Academy Award-qualifying festival. Win here and you’re in the running for a golden statue at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences premier award ceremony.

This is the UK’s largest animation conference. It gets a cadre of high-level companies in attendance, including Aardman Animations, Blue Zoo, ILM, Locksmith Animation, Passion Pictures, and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

A simple look at this animation conference’s winners’ list and you can see the quality from the UK-based animators.

Drawing for the Manchester conference for animation and motion design

December 2024

SIGGRAPH ASIA 2024

December 3rd to the 6th, 2024 — Tokyo, Japan (in-person & virtual)

SIGGRAPH Asia 2023 set up in Sydney just in time for summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Now the 2024 version is in Tokyo. What I like about this conference is its focus: it is not solely on animation. But it is geared toward those who are “excited by research, science, art, animation, gaming, interactivity, education, and emerging technologies.”

The reason for attending is simple: What gets presented here this year are the technical innovations you’ll be experimenting with next year. So get a leg-up and put yourself in a seat (or a virtual environment) for the 3-day conference.

Nighttime illustration of Tokyo's animation conference

February 2025

Illustrator's image of the city for Belgium's best animation festival

Anima — The Brussels International Animation Film Festival

February 28th to March 9th, 2025 — Brussels, Belgium (in-person & virtual)

Happy New Year! 2025 kicks off in Brussels. Anima is in its 44th year, an impressive feat for an animation conference. But you can see why. The level of talent in Belgium and who this festival attracts internationally is second to none. No live-action animation, though. Anima focuses on animation created frame by frame, which can be traditional animated cartoons, stop-motion puppetry, or hand-animated plasticine models.

Anima is one of the few animation conferences in the world that is qualified to nominate its winning candidates for the Oscar® for best animated short film.

April 2025

Aerial view of Eindhoven, home of the In Motion animator's festival

The Art Department Eindhoven 2025

April, 2025? (Dates to be confirmed) — Eindhoven, Netherlands (onsite and virtually)

Let’s stay in the Benelux region for this creative conference: The second of two Art Department conferences, celebrating concept art, design and craftsmanship in the film, animation, and games industries.

Artist talks are my favorite, and the Art Department has a wide array of artists types: creature FX artists (Gustav Hoegen), whimsical illustrators (Beatrice Blue), art directors (Dani Dietz), and film directors (Mascha Halberstad), just to name a few.

This really is a festival — experience the outdoor expos, the art market, and workshops, along with the fabulous screenings of the best animation.

Cardiff Animation Festival 2025

April, 2025? (Dates to be confirmed) — Cardiff, Wales (onsite and virtual)

While not the biggest animation conference on this list, the Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF) is one of the best curated. The style of curation and the character design in the selected animations and illustrations made me take notice and enticed me to see what CAF is all about.

The list of the animated shorts in the festival puts it on this guide of the best animation conferences. Have a look and know that if you can’t make it to Cardiff in April, you should check out the animators and their submitted works. I can see many of them featuring again and again at other festivals, making CAF a certain tastemaker for up-and-coming animators and those with a distinctive style of visual storytelling

Image of landmark building in Wales for the Cardiff Animation Festival

May 2025

Stuttgart, Germany's main animation conference & festival, the ITFS

Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS)

May 6th to the 11th, 2025 — Stuttgart, Germany (Onsite and virtual)

Founded in 1982, ITFS as it is known is Germany’s premier animation conference and festival. While it is early days (at the time of this writing) to see what ITFS has in store for us in its 2024 festival, it always delivers a great experience.

Like some of the other festivals on this list, Stuttgart‘s offering has now expanded its definitions of animated film. In 2023, ITFS offered film screenings, exhibitions, lectures, workshop talks, master classes, and VR events, in addition to a few animated live performances.

I love the game center and especially the communal Open Air cinema in the heart of the conference city. There’s nothing like having the full backing of your host city for the animated arts. And Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film sure gets it with its jumbotron cinema set outside in a city square for daily screenings of kids’ films and more adult animation in the evenings. So cool.

In 2024 & 2025, What Other Animation Conferences Are You Interested In?

Am I missing a better conference or festival than the ones above? Contact me and let me know. I’ll look to update the animation conference list throughout the year. Are you an animator? Check out Oddtoe’s list of the best animation agents while you’re here!

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