Relying on the old Google translate a bit here, but it looks like the 44th Festival of Comics of Angoulême has taken some steps to make sure it is not as horrible, sexist and out of touch as this year’s, an event which provided months of fodder for scorn, sarcasm and calling people “un cretin total”.
The Festival has a new artistic director, Stephane Beaujean, and he’s allowing women to vote! Actually the prize selection committee, in the past a sausage heavy fest, will have equal numbers of male and female voters. (Take that US!)
They are also starting a special selection committee to honor books for younger readers.
There will be two selection committees, one to select books for the Fauves awards (except Fauve Jeunesse) and the other to select books for youth prize (including Best Youth). The Festival will be represented by its Artistic Director in both committees, as well as its responsibility in the youth sector in the Youth Selection Committee.
As before, the other members of these committees will be specialists of comics. – Booksellers, journalists cf. lists below
Beaujean is a well rounded comics loving type who I met at TCAF a few years ago – I believe he goes every year – will “in freedom and independence,” head up programming, hopefully leading to a more balanced agenda. This years committee consists of
Stéphane Beaujean – Artistic Director – FIBD – 9eArt +
Romain Brethes – Journalist – Point
Guillaume Dumora – Bookseller – The Monte in the air
Valérie Mangin – author
Jean Pierre Mercier – Scientific Advisor – CIBDI
Thi Nguyen – Bookseller – Canal BD
Anne Claire Norot – Journalist – Les Inrockuptibles
As this year’s fest, as you may recall, the outrages came fast and furious, from the all male Grand Pix nominee list to Festival President Frank Bondoux claiming there aren’t any great women cartoonists, to the awards ceremony staging a horrible joke ceremony which led people to text and tweet that they had won, only to find i was a humiliating prank.
The 2016 festival was a complete disaster in terms of modernizing and globalizing French comics, and French publishers – who are eager to reach worldwide markets – took it as such am embarrassment that they called for a boycott of the festival and the removal of Bondoux. I’m told a secret plan circulated to move the fest to a different city, as well, a move which actually happened in the past becuase of similar complaints.
While I’m not sure what became of Bond villain Bondoux, it does sound like things will be a bit more inclusive and modern this year. The 44th FiBD takes place January 26-29, under the guidance of Grand Priz winner Hermann, whose festival defining poster will soon be revealed.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.