Report on Cartoon Movie 2020


The French city of Bordeaux hosted the 22nd edition of Cartoon Movie from March 3-5.
66 new projects at different stages of production hailing from 20 countries were presented at this European co-production forum for animated feature films.

Full room at Cartoon Movie 2020 - photo © Galia Prod

The 772 participants in the event bore witness to the good shape of European animation, with a sustained growth in production, and a positive stance towards the challenging audio-visual future.

This new edition of Cartoon Movie was officially opened on March 4th at the Bordeaux Congress Centre with the welcome words from Managing Director of CARTOON Marc Vandeweyer. In turn, Stephan Delaux, Deputy Mayor of Bordeaux, François Bonneau, President of the Pôle Image Magelis, and Anne-Laure Bedu, Regional Councilor for Innovation – partner institutions of the event – highlighted the importance of hosting an international forum like Cartoon Movie and its impact on the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region audiovisual industry. Finally, Film Fund Luxembourg’s Deputy Director Karin Schockweiler presented the Spotlight on Luxembourg's animation.

After the opening, producers and directors took the stage for two days to pitch their projects to potential partners, including distributors, sales agents, co-producers, publishers and streaming and VoD platforms.


With a good balance between commercial and auteur cinema, and a wide variety of genres, narratives and themes, the line-up of Cartoon Movie brought together a large part of the European animation films that will see the light of day in the next years. Behind the projects - ranging from films in their early stages, to others in development, production or post-production - are both well-known directors and young talent ready to take the baton of European animation. Mostly composed of universal stories, the event's roster adds up to 93 hours of animation and an overall investment of 458 million, with an average cost of 6.9 million per film.

With 23 selected films, French animation has once again confirmed its leadership, with 4 projects of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, second pole of animation production in France after Paris. Spain doubled its presence compared to last year's edition with 9 projects, Germany came in third with 6 films, Denmark presented 5, while Italy and The Netherlands participated with 3 each. The Nordic Countries together had 7 projects, as many as the projects hailing from the Central and Eastern Europe countries.

One third of the projects were co-productions between European countries, which shows that cooperation is in the DNA of European animation. Moreover, this year's edition had 5 co-productions involving non-EU countries (Canada, Malaysia, United States and Mexico).

Although animation for family audiences continues to prevail on the European production map with 56% of the selected projects, the films aimed at young adults/adults remained strong with 21% while animation for children represented the 15%.

The rapid growth of streaming platforms - many of which were present in Bordeaux - opens up a new range of distribution and exhibition possibilities for animated films, regardless of their target audience.
Music, history, literature, and graphic novels were once again an important source of inspiration. The projects include stories with strong female characters and friendship plots, as well as dramas, comedies, documentaries, and coming of age films.


Pitching session of "Verte" - photo © Galia Prod

 The ten pitching sessions that drew the most interest among buyers and investors at Cartoon Movie were: “Calamity, A Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary”, Rémi Chayé’s second film, “They Shot the Piano Player”, a new collaboration between director Fernando Trueba and designer Javier Mariscal, “Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds”, film written by Benoît Chieux (“Aunt Hilda!”) and Alain Gagnol, and directed by the former, “Verte”, an adaptation of Marie Desplechin's children's novel, “The Adventures of Pil”, a new production by TAT productions (“The Jungle Bunch” and “Terra Willy”), “The Inventor”, a film for family audiences written and directed by Jim Capobianco (writer of "Ratatouille"), “Detective Kibbles”, first animated feature film by French comedian and film director Benoît Delépine, “Molesworth”, UK’s Lupus Films production directed by Uli Meyer, “The Neighbours of my Neighbours are Neighbours of Mine” by Léo Marchand & Anne-Laure Daffis, and “The Island”, an animated musical for adult audiences directed by director Anca Damian.

In addition to “Calamity”, four other films were presented in the sneak preview category, which includes only completed works: “Ella Bella Bingo”, a film based on the popular TV series by the same name, “The Crossing” a hand painting animated film directed by Florence Miailhe, Germany’s family adventure “The Elfkins - Baking a Difference”, and “Raggie” by Karsten Kiilerich & Aina Järvine aimed at pre-school audiences.

Besides the already mentioned “The Island” and “The Neighbours”, the projects in production were Croatia’s “Cricket & Antoinette”; “Even Mice Belong in Heaven”, a Czech film based on an award-winning book; “Ooops! The Adventure Continues...”, the sequel to Toby Genkel & Sean McCormack’s successful adventure comedy, and “The Walking Liberty”, third feature film by Italian director Alessandro Rak.

The five films selected in the sneak preview category and the six ones in production had been previously presented as in concept or in development projects in Cartoon Movie, confirming thus the importance of the event in the promotion of European animation.


Muyi - a project adapted from a book

Pitching session of "Mu Yi" - photo © Galia Prod

 Collaboration between the publishing and animation sectors continues to grow, as was demonstrated in this new edition of Cartoon Movie, in which nearly a third of the projects were literary adaptations. The line-up included successful children's book adaptations by writers such as John Yeoman Julia Boehme, Marie Desplechin, Amelie Nothomb, and Andri Snær Magnaso; as well as graphic novels by Patrick Sobral, Roc Espinet, Romain Renard, and Tomasz Samojlik. The publishers present at Bordeaux were interested both in offering books for their adaptation and in acquiring projects’ rights for their publication. They showed interest in “Calamity, a childhood of Martha Jane Canary”, “Mu Yi”, “The Inventor” and “Nordic Ghost Hunters” amongst others.


Spotlight on Luxembourg - Happy Hour

Happy Hour cocktail offered by the Film Fund Luxembourg - photo © Galia Prod

This year’s spotlight was on Luxembourg animation. In less than thirty years, the Grand Duchy animation has made an international name for itself thanks to its ambition, its reliability, the skills of its professionals, and the co-production opportunities made available by tailor-made public funding mechanisms. This policy has made it possible for Luxembourg studios to participate in recent releases and projects in production, such as “Funan”, “Pachamama”, “The Breadwinner”, “The Swallows of Kabul”, “White Fang”, and “Where is Anne Frank?” This year’s Cartoon Movie selection included two feature films by Luxembourg producers: “Molesworth” (co-produced by Melusine Productions), and “Ooops! The Adventure Continues…” (co-produced by Fabrique d’Images).

Supported by Film Fund Luxembourg and Luxembourg - Let’s make it happen, the spotlight has helped to raise the visibility of some 12 animation studios, such as Melusine Productions, Fabrique d’Images, Doghouse Films, Zeilt Productions, a_BAHN, Paul Thiltges Distribution and Bidibul Productions.

Luxembourg’s animation also hosted a cocktail party and Cartoon Movie’s farewell party, where traditional Luxembourg specialities were enjoyed.


The winners of the Cartoon Tributes

The winners of the Tributes: Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Annemie Degryse - Lumière, Gregory Faes - Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Lucie Bolze - Rosalie Films, Arnauld Boulard - Gao Shan Pictures - photo © Galia Prod

During Cartoon Movie, European animation professionals have paid tribute to the protagonists of the year with the presentation of the Cartoon Tributes, the awards that recognise the work of European animation professionals. Announced on Thursday 5 March, the winners in each of the three categories - European Director, Distributor, and Producer of the Year - were voted by the participants at Cartoon Movie. Among the winners there were some of the most relevant award-winning films over the past year, as well as companies that have substantially contributed to the development of the European animation industry. This year’s Tributes went for:

  • Director of the Year: Zabou Breitman & Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec for “The Swallows of Kabul” (France).
  • Distributor of the Year: Lumière (Belgium)
  • Producer of the Year: Xilam Animation (France) / Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cinéma (France) for “I Lost my Body” by Jérémy Clapin.

Project Fleak at Cartoon Movie 2020

"Fleak" produced by Anima Vitae (Finland), Anima Vitae Point (Malaysia), Animoon (Poland) & Godo Films (France)

Cartoon Movie has also granted the Eurimages Co-production Development Award, a cash-prize of 20,000 € conceived to promote the Fund’s role in encouraging international animated co-production from a project initial stage. Chosen among nine projects in development selected in Cartoon Movie, the prize went for "Fleak", a film produced by Anima Vitae (Finland) in co-production with Animoon (Poland), and Godo Films (France). The projects were pitched to a jury made up of Karin Schockweiler (Film Fund Luxembourg – Luxembourg), Julia Müntefering (Telepool – Germany), and Eric Geay (SND - France).


In order to integrate young talent into the animation industry, Cartoon Movie implements an annual program for students from the region’s animation schools and the Spotlight's country. Through lectures, master classes and presentations, the Coaching Programme is conceived as a training experience in project presentations and professional participation in Cartoon Movie throughout a day. Coordinated by Agnès Bizarro, students debate topics such as the importance of making a good pitching, the role of Cartoon Movie in the European animation industry as well as case studies of projects successfully presented at the event.

Project Geno - Cartoon Movie 2020

"Geno" produced by Lira Production Studios & AniMMal (Georgia)

The selection of Dato Kiknavelidze’s “Geno” (Georgia) in Cartoon Movie’s line-up has highlighted once again CARTOON commitment to new talent. The project was pitched in 2016 at Cartoon Springboard, an event organized by CARTOON dedicated to the emergence of young talents.

As in previous years, Cartoon Games took place before the opening of Cartoon Movie with the aim of creating synergies between the animation, video games & transmedia industries. This year’s event not only staged the usual one-to-one meetings, but also the keynotes "Producing animated films with games’ technology" by Mathieu Muller (Unity Technologies / France) and "A 360 storytelling approach mixing Games, Comics and Animation" by Sean Patrick O’Reilly (Arcana Studios / Canada).


Cartoon Movie's 23rd edition will be held in Bordeaux from March 9 -11, 2021.