SCENARIOS/The Italian Cartoon Challenge

After celebrating twenty years of activity last year, bringing home some important results including an enhanced tax credit which has been raised to 30%, Cartoon Italia, the national Association of animation producers, has continued its actions in support of the sector with a series of interventions.

The challenge laid down by the Italian Film Commissions at the last Rome Audiovisual Market regarding the setting up of “Animation Hubs” was received with a great amount of interest and was followed by the signing of memoranda of understanding with the regions of Piedmont, Sardinia and Marche.
“The objective is to promote the economic, creative and technological development of all the entities present in the region which are linked to the animation, video game and digital image industry and, in addition to production companies, involves universities, research centers and broadcasters (particularly the Rai production center of Turin)” explains the president Anne-Sophie Vanhollebeke. “The aim is to make it possible for young people coming out of school to get in contact immediately with the world of work, for professionals to acquire more knowledge and expertise, for companies to perform better and become more competitive and for the whole regional digital ecosystem to grow. Soon” she announces “we will be si- gning agreements for an image center in Lazio, Puglia and Campania”.

The first tangible result to come out of this agreement with Sardinia was Cartoon Digital which was held in Cagliari at the end of May, a ‘top- level’ international event for the animation and digital entertainment sector.
In addition to registering great appreciation and record attendance, the Cagliari edition benefitted from two extra days reserved for Italian producers who met with young talents as well as the main European broadcasters in dedicated sessions.
Thanks to the far-sightedness of the Sardinian Film Commission, the event will be repeated next year, boosting the Italian Days.

Last March, Cartoon Italia renewed its support of Anica (Italian Association of Cinematographic Audiovisual and Multimedia Industries) for the common definition of a strategic plan for the animation industry.

The objective of the three year agreement is to create work opportunities in an expanding sector, aiming in particular to bolster the domestic animation film sector.

An agreement was also signed with the Pôle Image Magelis of Angoulême, the digital audiovisual production chain’s first European economic development center which attracts the best international talents, many of which from Italy. An alliance – further sealed at the recent Cartoon Forum which was held in Toulouse mid September – which will permit exchanges of artists, technicians, training, research and development activities with a high technological content for developing new content or creative formats between Italian businesses and French companies located in the town.

Also, in July, Cartoon Italia and Asifa Italia, the Association of animation artists and professionals, signed an agreement according to which part of the automatic contributions granted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities based on the success of a work, will be given to the writers (story-line and screenplay), to the director and the graphic artist. “For the first time in Italy an agreement has been reached on recognizing proceeds for graphic artist as well”, the president of Cartoon Italia comments with satisfaction.

In addition to the well-established relationships with its French partners, in the course of 2019 the association supported the strengthening of Italian producers’ relationships on an international level by hosting a packed delegation of Irish producers in Turin and, thanks to the support of Anica and Agenzia ICE-ITA Italian Trade Agency, through missions in China, Russia and United States, and soon in Japan for the Tokyo market and festival.

So the future of Italian animation seems rosy.
“Today we have all the financial instruments we need for being in the market on an equal level with other European producers” states Vanhollebeke. “With the tax- credit today we have production costs that make it possible to bring work carried out in Asian countries to Italy.
Some Italian animation studios have actually doubled the number of their employees and new studios are entering the market.
We are talking about a sector which has around six thousand employees with an annual turnover of around € 180 million. Cartoon Italia represents 95% of Italian animation production companies with 32 members.
The other beneficial effect of the law is the selective and automatic funds that finally allow producers to maintain the majority of the international co-production rights and to develop their properties with 100% Italian creativity. Today we can say that we have laid the table” concludes the president, “we just need a greater demand for made in Italy content from private broadcasters and OTT channels to avoid getting stuck at the starters. Unfortunately, the new decree on investment obligations, which has recently been approved, only envisages the commitment to invest in animation content for Rai, so we hope that in the drafting of the implementation decrees, the Italian animation market will also be opened up to other stakeholders. That’s the only piece we need to complete the puzzle”.

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