700 participants from 35 countries
The latest edition of Cartoon Movie (2-4 March, Lyon) revealed European animated cinema's journey toward a new stage of growth. Thanks to its creativity, diversity and quality, the sector proved itself fit to meet new economic and technological challenges. The 13th edition of this annual event, with a strong French flair, was special not only because of record attendance and projects but also because it brought together a new generation of European animated cinema that revealed the strength and potential of today's industry.
Cartoon Movie 2011, the co-production forum for European animated feature films, drew to a close in Lyon, France on 4 March where a record number of 700 producers, distributors, buyers and investors from 35 countries came together to raise the necessary financing, set up co-productions and develop international sales. With a 15% attendance increase since last year, and 40% increase in 3 years, Cartoon Movie – the co-production forum for European animated feature films – has become the essential event for animation professionals.
Pitching session ("Morten on the Ship of Fools")
The sector has successfully adapted to a challenging backdrop The evolution of the industry over the past few years could be seen in the 56 projects pitched during these two intense days, which revealed a great variety of audience, genres, graphic styles and techniques (2D, stereoscopic 2D, stereoscopic 3D, stop-motion…).
The latest edition of the event took off to a flying start on 2 March with the screening of “Chico & Rita”, a creative collaboration by Oscar-winning director Fernando Trueba and Spain’s successful designer Javier Mariscal. This touching Cuban love story set in Havana and New York during the end of the 1940s won the Goya for Best Animated Film at Spain´s national film award.
Latin music during the Opening Night ceremony
Over the next two days, participants got a look at the high grade of new animated films being created across Europe. This year, completed films gave way to projects in concept and development (24 and 17 respectively), providing a glimpse into what looks to be a solid, promising future for European animation.
Films targeting young-adult and adult audiences stood out at this edition of the event representing nearly 30% of the projects. The films touched on topics that are rarely addressed in animation, such as war (“I Have Understood You”), adoption (“Approved for Adoption”), immigration and corruption (“The Jungle”), culture clash (“Adama”) and Alzheimer (“Wrinkles”).
Presentation of "Adama"
Beyond the trend in new audiences and subject matters, European animation also remains faithful to its traditional base, with half of the projects pitched in Lyon targeted to family audiences. Stories set in the Christmas holidays (“Santa’s Apprentice”; “Holy Night! 3D”, “Niko 2” and “The Magic Crystal”), fantasy adventures (“The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams”, “Ana”, “The Great Bear”, “Seed, the Child of the Moon”, among other), and mystery films (“Phantom Boy”, “A Cat in Paris”, “My Haunted House”) flooded the event.
There were also films about family relationships (“Majorettes!”, “Little Caribou”, “My Brother Nikolaj”), love (“Elvis”, “Cricket and Antoinette”) and science fiction (“Dome”, “Soul Man”).
Literature – with adaptations of Alphonse Daudet, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde, Upton Sinclair and Jean Teulé, among others – and comic books (“My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill”, “Yakari”, “Psylo Therapy”, “Mutafukaz”, “Prototype”) continue to be an important fountain of inspiration for European animated cinema.
Crowded rooms for the pitches
The most popular projects this year were “1884: Yesterday's Future” (with Terry Gilliam on board as consulting producer), Patrice Leconte’s animation debut “The Suicide Shop” and Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli new project, “Phantom Boy”. Other films also received an excellent reception, including “Ronal The Barbarian” from Denmark; “Ana” from Spain; “Mutafukaz”, “The Strange Case of Dad's Missing Head” and “The Picture” from France; and “Majorettes!” from Belgium.
The sector was quick to adapt to the economic situation by developing projects with medium-range budgets (an average of 5 to 7 million euros each), the bulk of which can be grossed in native countries. In terms of technology, stereoscopic 3D productions continue to gain ground (20% of the projects pitched), underscoring European producers’ attempts to adapt to audience demands.
Project in concept to be in stereoscopic 3D ("My Haunted House")
The bridge that Cartoon Movie has offered between the animation and videogame industries since its arrival in Lyon in 2009 is also bearing fruit, with French company Ankama one of the first to present its leap into animation with its “Mutafukaz” project. About 30 vidgame companies from France and Germany were also able to come into contact with the animation industry at this year’s event.
France is still the indisputable leader of animated films in Europe. Not only did it pitch the most projects (42%), it also won each category of the Cartoon Tributes, the animation awards voted by sector professionals. France’s Pierre Coffin was voted Director of the Year for “Despicable Me”, the hit American film made entirely in France by MacGuff Ligne. Meanwhile, STUDIOCANAL and France 3 Cinéma won the Distributor and Producer of the Year awards, respectively, for their outstanding support of the animation industry.
Jacques Bled (Mac Guff), Julien Colombani (STUDIOCANAL), Alice Girard (France 3 Cinéma), Marc Vandeweyer (CARTOON)
The strength of French animation received also an added boost when Eric Garandeau, President of the CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) announced increased support for stereoscopic 3D film productions in his inaugural speech.
In addition, the Rhônes Alpes Region gave a special “Personality of the Year” trophy to the creative directing duo Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli for their film “A Cat in Paris”. This trophy was created to highlight animation talents based in the Region
French animation was also present at the Croissant and Coffee Shows – where the trailers of the projects were presented – with an animated presentation by La Poudrière animation film school.
Along with the showings at the congress centre, Lyon played host to a score of other parallel activities around Cartoon Movie 2011. As an introduction to the event, Imaginove offered a tour to the Pôle PIXEL in Villeurbanne to show off some companies active in the audiovisual sector.
The event also hosted a new edition of the Cartoon Movie Coaching Programme, a training course aiming to increase the prospects for upcoming producers and talents within the European animation market. Some 60 students from Denmark, Germany and France attended the programme and had the opportunity to meet the market at Cartoon Movie.
Organised by CARTOON – European Association of Animation Film since 1999, this was the third consecutive year that the event was held in Lyon with the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée), the Rhône-Alpes Region, Greater Lyon and in collaboration with the Cluster Imaginove (Lyon).
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