The 23rd edition of Cartoon Forum took place in the most colourful city in the Southwest of France – Toulouse. With a record number of more than 800 participants, including 250 buyers, European animation continued to show its true colours thanks to a strong diversity and creativity in the 69 projects pitched over the 3 days.
The blue skies and pink reflections of the buildings of Toulouse welcomed participants to the latest edition of Cartoon Forum, the European co-production forum for animation series. A Welcome Cocktail at the magnificent Salle des Illustres in the Town Hall, followed by a stroll through the heart of the city down to the Welcome Dinner on the banks of the Garonne River, as well as a gravity-defying acrobatic wall show, kicked off the event in style. The Cartoon Forum's true colours once again shone through, creating an ideal atmosphere to foster co-production and business while promoting European animation for television.
Welcome cocktail at Salle des Illustres
This new edition of Cartoon Forum, held in Toulouse, surpassed all expectations with a record participation of over 800 professionals from 33 countries. The 69 projects, from 15 European countries, represented 422 hours of animation and a global investment of 230 million euros. 39% of the projects were aimed at children between 4-12 years and projects for young adults and adults rose to 16% of the total, a 10% increase from last year. These figures continue to reflect the positive outlook for the sector, as well as the consolidation of European animated series on broadcasters' programming schedules, both on the continent and abroad.
The first working day on 12th September began with the traditional Croissant Show viewing of the morning's trailers in the modern Pierre Baudis Congress Centre, overlooking Toulouse's Japanese Garden, after which participants had three days to discover future European animation series at pitching sessions held in the colourfully-named Blue, Pink and Purple Rooms.
Since its creation, Cartoon Forum has become known as the place where European animation projects come to life. In general terms, 2D projects represented more than 50% of this year's line-up, and 22% of projects were co-productions between two or more European countries. The series included a wide range of genres from character-driven comedies, educational shows, action and adventure series, classic tales, documentaries and thrillers.
Cartoon Forum Toulouse also revealed the growing interest in animation with a 360-degree approach, with more and more producers creating content for television as well as for other screens and digital devices.
The surge of new studios throughout Europe – many of which pitched their projects in Toulouse – rounded up this positive sector picture, confirming that one of European animation's main assets is its inexhaustible pool of talent.
The success of French animation could be seen in the list of productions that drew the most interest at the event, confirming the country's role as leader across the continent. The comedy "Oh Brave Knight (and I!)" by TeamTO headed the list of most-attended pitches followed by "The Jungle Bunch – To The Rescue", from the Toulouse-based studio TAT productions, and "Jamie's got Tentacles" by Samka Productions. France's "Steve" (Autour de Minuit Productions) and "Hello World!" (Normaal Animation) rounded up the top five.
Pitching session of "Curly Hare" by Jam Media
After France, the most popular pitches included "Space Stallions", a comical adult parody by GunHil (Iceland); "Curly Hare" by Jam Media (Ireland); and "Atchoo!" by Studio Campedelli (Italy).
The 23rd edition of Cartoon Forum also reflected the passion for animation in the city of Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées region with the participation of the region's main studios, four of which – TAT productions, Xbo Films, Double Mètre Animation and Le loKal Production – presented projects at the event.
Pitching session of "Kiwi" by Xbo Films and Double Mètre Animation
In parallel with the Forum, a Cartoon Festival was organized from 2nd – 26th September, which allowed the general public to discover more about the world of animation through workshops for young children and screenings of short animated films in Toulouse and 25 other towns in the Midi-Pyrénées region. A first estimate of attendance at the 4 days of open-air screenings on the Place du Capitole showed that there were more than 2,500 people.
One of the highlights of this edition was the national avant-première screening of Kirikou 3 ("Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes") on Friday 14th September at the ABC cinema in Toulouse, in the presence of the film's director, Michel Ocelot.
Sainte-Cécile Cathedral of Albi
On Wednesday 12th September, participants were treated to the traditional sightseeing trip of Cartoon Forum. This year they headed off in busloads to visit a World Heritage site – the Episcopal city of Albi, situated northeast of Toulouse. They were impressed by the gigantic Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, with its austere exterior and ornate interior, and by the Berbie Palace housing the largest collection of Toulouse-Lautrec's works in the world. In the courtyard of the museum, they tasted some local specialities, such as onion pie, carrot cake, cheese and sausages, washed down with apple juice, wine and grapefruit liqueur.
For the second consecutive year, Irish animation took the Cartoon Tributes – the annual awards for outstanding companies that have had a dynamic influence on the European animation industry over the last year. Awarded by the event's participants, Dublin-based Jam Media and Monster Entertainment were recognized as Producer and Investor of the Year, respectively.
As for Broadcaster of the Year, the award went to Gulli, part of Lagardère Group, the only family DTT French channel dedicated to children and their parents.
Emmanuelle Baril & Marion Aguesse Paillet (GULLI), Andrew Fitzpatrick (Monster Ent.), Alan Shannon, Mark Cumberton & John Rice (Jam Media)
On the closing day of the Forum, the Mayor Pierre Cohen presented the locally-based TAT productions with the "Cartoon Tribute Toulouse Métropole" award for its dynamic input in Midi-Pyrénées. TAT productions is the creator and producer of the series "Spike" and "The Jungle Bunch".
David Alraux, Eric & Jean-François Tosti (TAT productions) and the Mayor of Toulouse
The award for the best European animated short film of the year was attributed to Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels for their stop-motion short film "Oh Willy…". They received a trophy together with financial aid of 10,000 euros, thanks to the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Produced by Belgian company Beast Animation together with Polaris Film & Finance, Vivement Lundi! (France) and il Luster Productions (Netherlands), "Oh Willy..." has received more than ten awards since its international première in Clermont Ferrand Film Festival in January 2012.
Tomer Eshed, Franck Dion, Michaela Pavlatova, Marc Roels, Emma De Swaef, Kyra Buschor, Giuseppe Lagana, Esben Toft Jacobsen.
The other nominees were "Zing" by Kyra Buschor & Cynthia Collins (Germany), "Edmond Was a Donkey" by Franck Dion (France/Canada), "Tram" by Michaela Pavlátová (France/Czech Republic) and "Flamingo Pride" by Tomer Eshed (Germany).
Finalists were selected among a shortlist of 31 award-winning films from Europe's most prestigious animation festivals over the past year. The 2012 jury was composed of directors Alain Gagnol (France), Esben Toft Jacobsen (Denmark) and Giuseppe Lagana (Italy), and the award was presented by French director, Michel Ocelot (Kirikou) and the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Vice-President in charge of culture, Dominique Salomon on Thursday 13th September in Toulouse.
Cartoon Forum Toulouse 2012 came to a lively end with a Farewell Dinner and Party, hosted by France Télévisions, at the beautiful Domaine de Preissac. It was the perfect setting for participants to express their enthusiasm for the success of the previous three days. It was also the moment to pay a special tribute to Julien Borde from France Télévisions for all his years of loyal service to European animation.
This edition of Cartoon Forum was organised by CARTOON – the European Association of Animation Film with the support of the MEDIA Programme of the European Union, the CNC, Région Midi-Pyrénées, Mairie de Toulouse, Communauté Urbaine Toulouse Métropole, Casino Théâtre Barrière Toulouse and France Télévisions, in collaboration with TAT productions and Xbo Films.
The next edition of Cartoon Forum will take place from 17th – 20th September 2013.
Exhibition of "Hello World" by Normaal Animation
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