Cartoon Forum successfully returns to in-person event at Toulouse
Cartoon Forum's joyfully returned to face-to-face at Toulouse with 84 European animation projects presented at the last edition of this event, which closed its doors on 23 September. The high-quality of the selected series and TV specials shows animation's remarkable resilience in overcoming the challenges faced as a result of the pandemic.
1018 professionals (867 in Toulouse, 151 online) from all over the world – including 267 buyers – were able to get to know the next generation of European animation series. Following the onsite event, Cartoon Forum activities continued online until 15 October with Catch-up sessions, a follow-up activity open to all participants, including those that were unable to travel to France.
Complying with the current health measures, the opening of the 32nd Cartoon Forum was celebrated on 20 September with a welcome dinner held at the Pierre Baudis Convention Centre, a long-awaited reunion after last year’s break due to the health crisis. Welcoming words were made by Annick Maes (General Director of Cartoon), Jean-Luc Moudenc (Mayor of Toulouse and President of Toulouse Métropole), Claire Fita (Vice-President in charge of Culture at the Occitanie Region), Olivier Henrard (General Director of the Centre National Du Cinéma et de l’image Animée (CNC), and Luis Chaby Vaz, President of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual of Portugal (ICA), this edition’s Spotlight country.
With the event already underway, the 84 selected projects were presented throughout three days in inspiring pitching sessions to an audience made up of broadcasters, distributors, investors, and streaming platforms, as well as potential co-producers, among other players. Shortlisted from 141 submissions, the projects involved 21 countries and had a total budget of 326.1 M€ with an average cost per series of 3.9 M€. In total, the projects represented 460 hours of animation.
France led the selection with 33 projects, followed by Ireland with 11, Germany with 8, Spain with 6, and Belgium with 5. Czech Republic, Denmark and Portugal participated with 4 projects each, and Italy and Poland with 3, while Finland, Latvia and Ukraine were present with 1 project each.
Europe has proved to be fertile ground for series aimed at children 6-11 years, which accounted for almost half of the selection (41 projects). With 25 projects, series for pre-schoolers continued to grow, driven by European public broadcasters’ strong interest in series that convey shared values and help shape the audiences of the future. Projects aimed at Young-Adults/Adults – a niche that is slowly beginning to gain a foothold on streaming platforms – accounted for 17% (14 projects).
2D remains the most widely animation technique employed by European producers (56%), although 3D series grows to 28% vs 20% in 2020.
Once again, Cartoon Forum line-up featured a wide range of themes, genres, graphic styles and animation techniques, reinforcing thus diversity as one of European animation distinctive features. The number of projects starred by heroines and dealing with ecological concerns kept growing, while diversity and inclusion issues continued to rise to the fore in European animation series.
Literature has established itself as a fertile source of inspiration for animation. Nearly a quarter of the selected projects are adaptations of comic books or books, including “My Dog, God and the Pokethings” (TNZPV Productions), “Blue Wolfie” (Label Anim), and “Suzon” (Mondo TV) from France; “Tales of Terror” (Dream Logic) and “Freddy Buttons Wacky Mysteries” (Treehouse Republic) from Ireland; as well as “Hello, Oscar!” (Atom Art, Latvia), “Welcome to Mamoko” (Pigeon, Poland), and “Fio Lina and the Maestro” (Serienwerk, Germany), among others.
The line-up also included animation documentary series such as “Cannabiz” (Lardux Films & Neos Films, France), and “Starting with Hope” (Moukda Production, France).
Top 5 with largest attendance (onsite + online)
The five pitching sessions with the largest attendance (when combining onsite and online presence) were all French projects: “Mister Crocodile” (Joann Sfar's Magical Society), “Me and My Compost” (Vivement Lundi ! & Superprod), “Under the School” (Ellipsanime Productions & Timpel Pictures), “Living with Dad” (Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel in coproduction with Belgium’s Belvision), and “Freaked Out” (Autour de Minuit & FKLG).
Top 5 of coproductions
The projects co-produced by at least two European countries whose pitching sessions had the largest attendance were “Living with Dad” (Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel & Belvision, France / Belgium), “Corgi, a Royal Family” (Studio Redfrog & nWave, France / Belgium), “Tales of Terror” (Dream Logic & Lupus Films, Ireland / United Kingdom), “Tommy Pepper” (Lunanime & Melusine Productions, Belgium / Luxembourg), and “Space Ham” (MiniCosmos & Dandelooo, Denmark / France).
Top 5 of new producers
Regarding projects presented by new producers, the top-5 pitching sessions with the largest attendance were “Mister Crocodile” (Joann Sfar’s Magical Society, France), “What it Takes” (Les Astronautes, France), “Beaver & Co” (Plip ! Animation, France), “The Seniors” (Vernes & MAUR film, Czech Republic), and “Space Ham” (MiniCosmos & Dandelooo, Denmark and France). Both “What it Takes” and “Space Ham” have previously participated in Cartoon Springboard, the pitching event for new talents annually held in Valencia, Spain, since 2019.
Portuguese animation shows its cards
As the Spotlight country, Portugal took centre stage at the 32nd Cartoon Forum. With a mission led by the Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual (ICA) and the Portugal Film Commission (PFC), the country featured five projects at the Forum: “Biriki” (Sparkle Animation/Abano Producións), “Pete & Berne’s” (Sardinha em Lata), “The Adventures of Princess P” (Ukbar Filmes), “The Saskatoons” (Spain’s Pikkukala in co-production with Sardinha em Lata), and “What’s It All About?” (Take It Easy).
Throughout the event, participants had the opportunity to learn about Portugal main animation production companies and the economic incentives they offer to produce and co-produce in their territory.
The country also hosted some social activities, including a farewell dinner at Le Manoir du Prince.
Cartoon Tributes: a peer-to-peer recognition
Mélanie Errea (MIAM ! Animation), Telidja Klaï (Ketnet-VRT), Annick Maes (Cartoon), Jean-François Tosti (TAT productions)
Belgium’s Ketnet-VRT, France’s MIAM ! Animation and TAT productions were awarded with the Cartoon Tributes. These prizes were created in 2006 to recognise the outstanding contribution made by broadcasters, distributors/investors and producers in the promotion of European animation over the last year.
Ketnet was recognised as Broadcaster of the year. As the children's brand of VRT, the public broadcaster in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium, they are aimed at children up to 12 years old, while Ketnet Junior is a sub-brand aimed at children up to 6 years old that features series such as "Doopie", “Ollie", "Simon" and "Bananimals".
Both a production and distribution company and a studio, MIAM ! Animation was awarded as Distributor/Investor of the year. Their slate includes many series that have been recently presented at Cartoon Forum, such as "The MiniWhats", "PriZooners", "Brazen", "Selfish", and “Goat Girl”.
One of the main studios in Toulouse and the Occitanie Region, TAT productions was recognised as Producer of the year. Founded in 2000 by David Alaux, Eric and Jean-François Tosti, this studio won an International Emmy Award for the TV series "The Jungle Bunch". The company is also responsible for the films “Terra Willy” and “Pil”, that has been released last August in France.
The winners were voted online by the professionals registered at the event.
Other activities organised along the event
As always, the upcoming animation professionals enjoyed their own space in Cartoon Forum’s Coaching Programme, which gives students from animation schools, based both in the region and in the Spotlight country, the possibility of discovering the animation industry from the inside.
Cartoon Forum also helped with the organisation of Les Toons Débarquent !, a festival organised by the association ACREAMP to celebrate the richness of animation in Toulouse and Occitanie.
The main partners of Cartoon Forum Toulouse are Creative Europe MEDIA, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée), Occitanie Region, Mairie de Toulouse, Toulouse Métropole, Casino Barrière and France Télévisions.
SAVE THE DATE
Cartoon Forum’s next edition will be held on 19-22 September 2022 in Toulouse.