Two-hundred projects (short feature-length films retrospective and premiers) from forty countries competed in the prestigious International Animation Festival in Annecy. The world famous animation festival is an unmissable rendezvous for the animation film industry.

It opened with a film based on the poetry book by the Lebanese Kahlil Gibran, which was published in 1923. The film was co-produced by Hollywood actress Salma Hayek and directed by Roger Allers, who previously directed The Lion King.

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Kahlil Gibran's philosophical work permeated ideals of peace, love and brotherhood. The animated film is about friendship between a young girl and Mustafa, a poet imprisoned because of his poem.

To take the poets into a unified story was a serious challenge for Roger Allers.

"The adaptation of the work wasn't easy, because of the very small amount of action in the story. It was needed to reinforce the narrative of the film, and find the way to unfold the story of the poem naturally and elegantly" explains Roger Allers.

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Gibran's poems make a complex whole with words, images, and music elements/mosaics. Salma Hayek and Roger Allers made the film with the big guns of the animation profession. Bill Plympton and French star Joann Sfar were also in the team.

Of course, there were also newcomers like Mohammed Saeed Harib from the United Arab Emirates.

"I am extremely proud. The Arabic literature is full with Aladin, Ali Baba, Arabian nights. These are the most important ancient and cultural values, The Prophet is contemporary art, so it is what many people love, a real bestseller, and we hooked up to celebrate Arabic creativity." said the young director.

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According to the artistic director of the festival, Marcel Jean, Annecy is on the map of the film world.

"I don't believe that there is any festival in the animation world which can compete with Annecy. It is a festival which is also a film fair, and it gives an exceptional dimension to the event. We can compare this festival to Venice, Locarno and Toronto and we outpaced Cannes too." said Marcel Jean.

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