Report on Cartoon Forum 2015

EUROPEAN ANIMATION BREAKS NEW BOUNDARIES IN TOULOUSE

Cartoon Forum successfully closed its 26th edition, having set new records for attendance and number of selected projects. For the fourth consecutive year, this gathering of European animation producers returned to Toulouse to present a new generation of television series and discuss the challenges facing this sector in the fast-changing context of the audiovisual industry.

After a welcome dinner held on the banks of the Garonne River, Marc Vandeweyer -- general director of CARTOON -- addressed the more than 900 attendees from over 33 countries to take stock of the event’s accomplishments. Since its creation in 1999, Cartoon Forum has helped to find financing for some 645 animated series, roughly equivalent to 36% of the projects presented at the event and a global budget of 2.2 billion EUR.

Francis Grass, Deputy for Cultural Affairs to the Mayor of Toulouse, and Dominique Salomon, Vice President in charge of Culture and Heritage of the Midi-Pyrénées Region, spoke about the importance of animation and its positive impact on the city and the region.

Over three days, the participants had the opportunity to discover 91 new animation series pitched at the Centre de Congress Pierre Baudis. Hailing from 19 European countries, the Forum line-up reflected the vibrant creative scene of European animation for television, with projects aimed at all audiences and a rich diversity of themes, genres, and graphic styles representing the European identity.

The dialogue between producers and potential investors -- including broadcasters, distributors, and buyers -- helped to close deals and provide feedback from potential partners to project leaders about to enter production stages.

THE SERIES OF TOMORROW

With a third of the selected projects, France was, once again, the star of the Forum, followed by the UK with eleven projects, Ireland with nine, and Germany and Italy with seven apiece. The series represent a total budget of 354.5 million EUR and 537 new hours of animation. Although half of the projects were aimed at children between six and eleven, projects for pre-schoolers, young adults, and adults keep gaining ground in European production. 2D series -- making up 51 percent of projects -- continues to be the most widely used technique, whilst two thirds of the projects were conceived also for other screens (tablets, mobile phones, video-games, etc.).

Regarding production companies, Europe’s big studios continue to contribute experience and solidity to a sector in which a new generation of producers is also expanding with bolder projects, both in terms of their creative proposals and their technology innovations.

French predominance was also present in the list of most-seen projects, with nine projects in the Forum’s top-ten. “The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales” (Folivari), “Belle and Sebastian” (Gaumont Animation), “Max & Maestro” (Monello Productions), “Abraca” (Ankama Animations), “Anna & Froga” (Vanilla Seed), “Gigantosaurus” (Cyber Group Studios), “No-No” (Autour de Minuit Productions), “Cherry Coco” (Milimages) and “Mr. Carton” (Tant Mieux Prod) were the French projects that draw the most attention. Within the French delegation, three noteworthy projects from the Midi Pyrénées Region include “Parole de Scarabée” (Le-loKal Production), “ZooZ” (Xbo Films), and “Ibinou” (Anoki).

Once again, Ireland exhibited its fantastic creative potential with projects such as “Dorg Van Dango” (Cartoon Saloon), “Dougie Noir” (Kavaleer Productions), and “Burrows” (Telegael).

Belgium’s “Dickie” (De Hofleveranciers); Germany’s “The Ogglies” (WunderWerk), “Animanimals” (Studio Film Bilder) and Dino Mite (M.A.R.K. 13); Denmark’s “Lili” (Dansk Tegnefilm), Italy’s “Bestiacce!” (Studio Bozzetto & Co) and UK’s “Interstellar Ella” (Tinker Labs), “Iggy and the Missing Links” (Adorable Media), and “The Trouble With Mum” (Spider Eye) were also among the highlights of the event.

Three non-European projects were invited for the first time to participate in the Forum. All three were South Korean projects selected by European broadcasters within the Cartoon Connection Asia-EU collaboration.

BEYOND PITCHES

The Forum was also the framework for other related activities, such as the German – European Alliances in Animation, with a focus on Poland and the Baltic States, the presentation “Luxembourg, an attractive country for co-productions” by Film Fund Luxembourg and company presentations from major players including France TV distribution and PGS.

Networking among industry professionals was also encouraged by social activities as a boat tour through the Canal du Midi, the first Cartoon Run, and a farewell Karaoke party among others.

“The Bigger Picture” - a stop-motion short film by British animator, writer and director Daisy Jacobs - won the Cartoon d’Or 2015 award for the best European animated short film. Jacobs uses two-metre-high painted characters in full-size sets to tell the stark and darkly humorous tale of caring for an elderly relative. The other finalists were “A Single Life” by Job, Joris & Marieke (Netherlands), “Autumn Leaves” by Carlos De Carvalho & Aude Danset (France), “Brothers in Arms” by Cav Bøgelund (Denmark), “Coda” by Alan Holly (Ireland), and “I can’t wait” by Claire Sichez (France). The winner received a trophy together with a 10,000 EUR grant thanks to the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA.

Meanwhile, Cartoon Tributes – the prizes voted by Forum participants to recognize the most important players in European animation -- went to the UK’s CBBC-BBC Children (Broadcaster of the Year), France’s Superights (Investor/Distributor of the Year), and Vivement Lundi! (Producer of the Year).

AN EVENT FOR THE PUBLIC AT LARGE

Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées Region celebrated the vibrant diversity of European animation through the Cartoon Festival, a programme held throughout the city and region featuring animated European box-office hits and avant-premieres.

Animation students from the city and region also enjoyed a space in the Forum through the Coaching Programme, a training initiative designed to give an insight on animation industry and the challenges of launching a project. This year, about fifty students and teachers attended this activity from six training centres in Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées Region.

The partners of Cartoon Forum Toulouse 2015 were Creative Europe - MEDIA, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée), Midi-Pyrénées Region, Mairie de Toulouse, Toulouse Métropole, Casino Barrière and France Télévisions.

The next edition of the event will take place from 13-16 September 2016.