CARTOONS/ 25 YEARS AT THE SIDE OF EU ANIMATION
April 23rd is the deadline for registering new European TV animation series projects for the next Cartoon Forum which will be held, for the second consecutive year, in Toulouse, France, from September 17th – 20th.
If chosen, the producers will have the chance to present their projects to a select public which, every year, numbers around 700 participants, including 250 broadcasters and financial backers, in pitches of 20 minutes per title. This is the tried and tested formula created in 1990 by Cartoon in Brussels, with the support of the European Union’s Media programme.
In these 23 years, over 450 projects with a total budget of more than 1.5 billion Euros have passed through the pitching process at the Cartoon Forum, received financing and are in production or have already been broadcast all over the world. “It was February 1988 when 43 European sector professionals met in Brussels to create the European Association of Animation Film, subsequently named Cartoon”, remembers the managing director, Marc Vandeweyer, 25 years after its foundation. “We are very proud to have been able to promote and dynamize European animation with the help of all the institutions that believed in us, and with the incredible support of the European Union’s Media Programme”.
Cartoon Movie, the forum for co-produced European feature length animations, created in the wake of the success of the TV program forum, came to an end on March 9th , in Lyon. There was a record number of distributors (120, 20% more than last year) for the 56 new projects from 20 European countries presented this year to over 700 professionals from 40 countries (another record). Cartoon Movie has also achieved some important results since it was set up 15 years ago: the more than 200 features presented were able to find financial backing amounting to a budget of 1.4 billion Euros. “Europe also knows how to produce high quality commercial movies which are every bit as good as US productions”, says Vandeweyer.
However, since domestic markets are becoming increasingly saturated – and poorer – and internationalization has become imperative for all, Cartoon has recently accepted a new challenge and, since 2009, has organized an event dedicated, as usual, to supporting European animation, under the umbrella of Media International action: Cartoon Connection.
A new event that aims to develop commercial and creative links between European professionals and their Asian, Canadian and Latin American colleagues in order to improve their mutual knowledge of different markets and encourage cooperation and the circulation of animation. Unlike the two European events, Cartoon Connection is held in South Korea, Canada and South America, with a formula consisting of 15 minute one-to-one meetings alternated with presentations to help understand European and non-European markets, as well as case studies about co-productions that illustrate how companies from each area can work successfully together.
The last edition, held from March 19th – 21st in in Seoul, Korea, was attended by around 170 professionals of which approximately fifty from the “Old World”, including Italians Gianluca Bellomo, ConnecToon, Cristian Jezdic, Square MTC, Franco Serra, Gertie, and Anne-Sophie Vanhollebeke, Studio Campedelli.
ANNECY/ THE FESTIVAL CHANGES SKIN
An eclectic program, open to little known universes. These are the premises for the next edition of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, to be held from June 10th – 15th. This is the first edition to be entrusted to Canadian Marcel Jean, the new artistic director, after the 14 editions directed by Serge Bromberg. The latest edition will explore new horizons: Poland is the guest country with fifty or so shorts and the Animation Off-limits cycle: four sections (experimental cinema, video art, shadow puppets and conceptual works) that will allow participants to discover films that are rarely or never shown at animation festivals, “where the frontiers of animation are crossed and we enter the vast territory of hybrid movies”, explains Jean. Another innovation is that the public will be asked to vote for the funniest short in the history of animation through four preliminary sections followed by a final one.
The serious side of the schedule, inspired by the traditional program “Animation citoyenne”, will propose a cycle of films dedicated to the concept of “resistance”: from Iranian dissidents to the Polish concentration camps, to the totalitarian universes of science fiction. The 2013 edition will also see a logistical change: since the Bonlieu, the nucleus of the festival with its two main theaters and offices, is currently being renovated, many screenings will take place in peripheral locations.