The event's overall emphasis is clearly French, but the Festival is nonetheless and without peer the single greatest crossroads of comics activity in the Western world. The show annually boasts an impressive, global list of exhibitors, guests and attendees. An international rights area offers publishers and artists an opportunity to negotiate international editions of books and comics. In short, the Festival attracts a heady crowd and provides what is likely the best single opportunity to survey — in one place — the current state of the comics art in its various Western manifestations.
General Manager Thévenet calls this year's Festival "the opening sentence in chapter two" of the event's history, in an interview published on the Festival's website. Thévenet articulates a radical re-conceptualization of the Festival and its organization: "We are becoming cultural entrepreneurs," he says. Thévenet broadly indicates a two-fold goal: to extend the activities of the Angoulême Festival to venues across France and abroad throughout the entire year; and to present comics under the Angoulême brand name as a multi-media cultural phenomenon rather than as a strictly print-based art medium. He notes previous Festival events as evidence that "the extraordinarily fertile imagination of comic strips was not only expressed in comic books." Thévenet specifically cites the multi-media exhibit dedicated to last year's Festival President François Schuiten, "with its innovative ideas, new technologies, and relatively few comic strips."