Anime's profile is on the rise all around the world, not just in the United States.  The 2003 Cannes Film Festival, which will be held from May 14 to May 25, will include at least two anime features.  Steamboy, the new film from the creator of Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo, is the best known of the festival entries.  Opening in both Japan and the U.S. this fall (see 'Otomo's Steamboy Release Confirmed'), Steamboy is a retro science fiction film that appears (from the images that have been released) to have a very strong sense of design.


The other major release is from Studio Madhouse, and it features the directorial debut of Kitaro Kosaka, who has been characterized in the Japanese press as 'Miyazaki's favorite pupil' and 'Miyazaki's right arm,' and who served as the lead animator on Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Kosaka's film, 'Nasu -- The Summer of Andalsia' may well be the first anime film about bicycle racing and should certainly reflect the director's passion for the sport. 


At least one other anime film has been rumored to be in line for a Cannes showing, though few details have emerged.  The mysterious film is reportedly a collaboration between manga and anime pioneer Leiji Matsumoto (Galaxy Express) and the French musical duo Daft Punk.