The 15th edition of Cartoon Movie (6-8 March, Lyon) has revealed the wealth of creativity and success in the European animated film industry. Fine-tuning their skills to make ambitious artistic works that also have a strong commercial potential, European producers now have little to envy the American studios. Recent European success stories include "Tad, the Lost Explorer" (2.7 million admissions in Spain alone), "Niko 2" (2 million admissions worldwide), "Ernest & Célestine" and "Kirikou 3" (1 million admissions in France each).
Cartoon Movie 2013, the co-production forum for European animated feature films, ended in Lyon, France on 8 March where more than 700 producers, distributors, buyers and investors from a record number of 40 countries came together to raise the necessary financing, set up co-productions and develop international sales. With a 20% increase in the number of buyers from last year, Cartoon Movie is more than ever a major event for animation professionals.
With its characteristic creativity, quality and diversity, European animated film was back on stage with 56 projects coming from 20 countries pitched during two intense days. Projects in various stages of development by renowned animation directors such as Sylvain Chomet, Enzo d'Alò, Patrice Leconte, Raúl García, Jannik Hastrup, Jean-François Laguionie or Arthur Qwak were presented at this edition.
The event began on 6 March with the screening of the Spanish feature "Tad, the Lost Explorer", a comedy adventure directed by Enrique Gato. It has had over 2.7 million admissions in Spain alone and won 3 Goya Awards in February 2013, for Best Animation Film, Best First-time Director, Best Adapted Screenplay.
Cartoon Movie's line-up also included some successful films at a national level that were looking to expand their international horizons in Lyon, like Danish animation film "Marco Macaco", preschool feature "Miffy the movie", and Germany's "Knight Rusty" together with eagerly awaited works like the adaptation of the comic book "Aya of Yop City".
Gathering between 250 and 350 people in the two studios, most of the pitching sessions got a full house. The very moving and personal project by French director Jean-François Laguionie, (1) "Louise in the Winter", leads the list of the 15 most-attended pitches, followed by (2) Patrice Leconte's second animation film "MUSIC!"; (3) the comic book adaptation "Rise of the Zelphire" by Arthur Qwak; (4) Copenhagen Bombay's new project "Beyond Beyond"; (5) the poignant story of a children's jail in "The Island of Lost Children"; (6) the stunning images of Belgian project "CAFARD" about the 1st World War; (7) the tender "My Mommy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill"; (8) the Chinese novel's adaptation by Pascal Morelli, "The Prince and the Demon-Kings"; (9) the new project by the Spanish winning Tad's team "Capture the Flag"; (10) the hilarious animal characters in Prima Linea's "Loulou's Secret"; (11) Enzo d'Alò's colourful "Pinocchio"; (12) Norway's "Christmas in Pinchcliffe"; (13) the adaptation of the famous "Oggy and the Cockroaches" series; (14) UK's "Little Princess"; and (15) the innovative "ALPHA" produced by Autour de Minuit, about nothing less than the creation of the universe.
Projects from new talented directors like Julio Soto ("DEEP"), Jacob Ley ("Get Santa"), Alessandro Rak ("The Art of Happiness") and Gunnar Karlsson ("Ploe – You Never Fly Alone") also came to the limelight during the event.
New animation from East and Central Europe was presented with films in development like "Cricket and Antoinette" (Croatia), "Red Button" (Latvia), and "Tim and the Master" (Poland), among others.
The 22 projects in concept, pitched in grouped sessions, also aroused a strong interest amongst potential business partners and buyers, boding well for Europe's next generation of animation professionals.
The event's line-up displayed a wide variety of film genres and subject matters, from stories about the forbidden love between an antibody and a bacterium ("Micromeo"), to monsters eating only well-behaved little children ("The Yark"), and even the nightmares inspired by Hieronymus Bosch's paintings ("Hieronymus").
Continuing to find inspiration in literature and comics, the majority of the films were targeted at family audiences though there was also a sample of choices for adults (16%) and even pre-schoolers (7%). The dominant technique in Europe remains 3D computer (48%) with a continuing presence of movies in 2D (23%) and stop-motion (11%). Stereoscopic 3D starts to show signs of fatigue in Europe, falling to 25% of the total, compared to 38% last year.
France led the list of countries with 17 projects, followed by the Nordic Countries (10), Germany (5), Spain (4), and the United Kingdom and Poland with 3 films each. The projects had a total budget of 303 million Euros and 75 hours of animation.
As animated film continues to gain force all over the world, the 15th Cartoon Movie welcomed a record 120 distributors from Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia, up 20% from last year. The fact is that recent European animation films have drawn a significant number of viewers into the theatres, despite the tough competition: "Tad, the Lost Explorer" made 2.7 million admissions in Spain, "Ernest & Celestine" and "Kirikou 3" have reached 1 million each in France, Finland's "Niko 2" was seen by 2 million people internationally and Germany's "Raven the Little Rascal" and "Knight Rusty" are both above 600 000 admissions.
Boosted by their identity hallmarks and high-technical standard, European animation films have begun to travel beyond their borders, managing to capture ever-larger audiences around the world.
Recognising the outstanding contribution of businesses and personalities to the European animation sector, this year's winners of the Cartoon Movie Tributes were:
In addition, the Rhônes-Alpes Region's "Personality of the Year" was awarded to Benjamin Renner. Trained at La Poudrière, the prestigious animation school located in Valence, this young director won the Cartoon d'Or award in 2008 with his short film "A Mouse's Tale" and co-directed "Ernest & Célestine", a France-Belgium-Luxembourg co-production, winner of the 2013 César for Best Animated Feature Film.
Around 700 speed-dating sessions were held during the 2ndedition of CARTOON GAMES, between professionals from the animation and video game industries during one whole day before Cartoon Movie. The aim of this initiative was to
encourage the players to develop a common project both as a feature film and a video game.
Organised by Cartoon in collaboration with Imaginove, the Rhône-Alpes Cluster of image and digital content, 47 video game companies from 5 countries, along with 50 animation producers were able to meet and assess the development of projects. Introducing the day, speakers from Ubisoft, Rovio Entertainment and Copenhagen Bombay discussed topics such as building synergies between games and animated features, creating brands in the new media age and developing interactive animation content.
Thanks to Cartoon Movie, the people of Lyon had the opportunity to discover a selection of great European animated films and had the privilege of meeting some well-known animation directors and producers at the festival "On cartoon dans le Grand Lyon !", organised by the network of cinemas, GRAC.
Organised by CARTOON – European Association of Animation Film since 1999, this was the fifth consecutive year that Cartoon Movie 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). Since the beginning of the event, more than 200 animated features have found financing thanks to Cartoon Movie.
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