CARTOON FORUM REPORT 2018

NEW SERIES, NEW TALENTS: EUROPEAN ANIMATION SERIES SHINE IN TOULOUSE

The new season of animated series has started with the celebration of Cartoon Forum, a reference event that marks the year's second term and shows the production and programming trends within this industry. With a record participation of 1000 professionals, the 29th edition of this co-pro and pitching event included brilliant projects, many of which have been presented by new talents who have already found their place in the market. This has been the seventh consecutive edition held in Toulouse in the Occitanie Region, a land considered by many a bastion of animated cinema in France.

Over three days, the 83 projects presented in the Forum's new edition offered a glimpse of the new animation series that are being cooked in Europe. Despite the transition phase that the audio-visual geography is going through due to the change of models and the arrival of new players, the production keeps a good pace in Europe, as was reflected in the total of more than 510 hours in this year's selection. The presence of a new generation of directors and producers has been another of the highlights of this event, where many bright projects spread happiness to the more than 250 buyers in Toulouse.

For almost three decades Cartoon Forum has helped more than 758 projects complete their funding with an original formula that in this new edition became more dynamic with pitching sessions standing around high tables.

After the welcome dinner at Les Abattoirs by the Garonne river, on Tuesday, September 11, the event was opened with the welcoming words of Francis Grass (Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture of the City of Toulouse), Dominique Salomon (Vice-President of the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, responsible of Culture) and Vincent Leclercq (Director of TV and New Media Content at CNC), and the presentation of the spotlight on Finland. After this and for three days, the projects were the protagonists of this authentic animation fest.

Series with personality

The 83 projects presented served to outline the current profile of the production of animation series. With a third of the projects selected, France revalidated its hegemony at a European level. With 9 and 8 projects respectively, United Kingdom and Germany doubled their presence compared to the previous year, while Belgium (7) and Spain (6) maintain their position in the top 5 of a line-up that includes a total of 20 European countries, and Canada and South Korea as guest countries. Led by Finland, the Nordic Countries were present in the selection with 6 projects.

44% of the projects were aimed at children 6-11 years old while a third were meant for pre-school audiences (2-6 years). The series for young-adults/adults - among which stood out "Globezone", "Selfish" and "Deep Bowl" - represented 9% of the total, demonstrating the existing interest in this niche that continues to look for a place in the programming schedules, both in linear channels and streaming platforms.

In financial matters, the total budget was 341.3 million euros, with an average cost per project of 4.1 million euros. Almost half of the projects used 2D as their animation technique and 34% were made in 3D.

While many of the projects that go to Cartoon Forum are looking for co-producers, 15% of them already have one in Europe. Outside the region, Canada is - with 5 projects - the main co-producer of European projects.

France at the top

With 8 projects, the French animation made it to the top 10 projects that attracted buyers' interest, led by two literary adaptations: "The Borrowers Blue" (Spirit Productions) and "Splat & Seymour" (Just Kids).

“Woolly Woolly”, the first TV series that’s entirely hand-knitted presented by Normaal, the story about friendship during childhood “Country Kids” (La Station Animation) and “Droners” presented by Cyber Group Studios (CGS) complete the top 5.

The top 10 also includes five projects for pre-schoolers: "Billy - The Cowboy Hamster" (Dandelooo); "Zouk, The Little Witch with a Big Personality" (Bayard Jeunesse Animation), "Tiny Bad Wolf" (Xilam Animation); "Silly Sundays" by the Irish Cartoon Saloon; and "Odo" by the Polish Letko.

Shiny Happy People

For the third year in a row, Cartoon Forum focused on the animation of a country or region with the aim of promoting its studios and encouraging co-production. This time the turn was for Finland, a country that was present with three projects ("Harry and Bip - Summer Season" by Ink and Light, "Momolu and Friends" by Ferly and "One Thousand and One Animals" by Haruworks). Through presentations, the Forum participants had the opportunity to meet the country's main studios as well as the values on which their industry is based and the benefits it offers, such as a 25% cash rebate. Finland’s creativity and culture were present throughout the event that ended on September 13 with a Finnish farewell party.

A local touch

The Forum was experienced in a special way in Toulouse and the Occitanie Region that was present with the project "Origin Arena" by the studio Mad Films, and that could enjoy "Les Toons Débarquent", a festival open to the public with a programme that included an avant-premiere of "Dilili in Paris" by Michel Ocelot and "The Tower" (a co-production of Les Contes Modernes). The Occitanie Region has become a bastion of animated cinema in France: with no less than twelve studios located here and up to 500 direct jobs, animation cinema has been constantly developing in recent years between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea.

In addition, 90 students from the region's animation school were invited to participate in Cartoon Forum Coaching Program, an initiative created to encourage young talents to discover the animation industry and the challenges linked with the launch of a project.

Tributes for Ireland, France and Finland

The European animation honoured its main protagonists by awarding the Cartoon Tributes 2018, prizes that recognize the work of companies and people that have contributed to the development of the European animation industry over the past year. Elected through electronic voting by Cartoon Forum’s participants the winners were announced on September 13. Ireland, France and Finland shared the prizes in all three categories, demonstrating the strength of European animation across its borders.

This year's winners are:

▪       Distributor of the Year: 9 Story Distribution International (Ireland)

▪       Producer of the Year: Folimage (France)

▪       Broadcaster of the Year: Finnish Broadcasting Company – YLE (Finland)

 

Dublin based 9 Story Media Group is a leading provider of content to major broadcasters, digital platforms, and home entertainment companies worldwide that represents over 2,500 half hours of animated and live-action programming.

Since 1981, the French Studio Folimage produces TV series, short and feature films. Producer of the second season of de "Tu mourras moins bête" (Arte) et "Ariol" (Piwi+), Folimage develops several projects including "Vanille" (Cartoon Forum 2016) and its new TV series "Les Cahiers d’Esther" (adaptation of the comic book of Riad Sattouf) is now broadcasted by Canal+. At the Cartoon Forum this year, its project "Looking for Santa" will be pitched, as well as two co-production's projects: "Maëlys Mysteries" and "We are the Artists".

YLE is a Finnish pubcaster that airs over 1,000 hours of programming for 2-12-year olds through its channel YLE TV2. The company, which has a strong co-production policy, is one of the main promoters of Finnish animation that has recently participated in series such as "Gigglebug" and "Albi the Snowman".

The list of nominees also included Deakids (Italy), Hopster (United Kingdom), Netflix (USA) and TF1 Unité Jeunesse (France) in the Broadcaster of the Year category; Connectoon (Italy), Gaumont Distribution TV (France) and Miam! Animation (France) in the Investor/Distributor of the Year; and Akkord Film Produktion (Germany); Ánima Kitchent (Spain), Ink and Light (Finland/Ireland) and The Illuminated Film Company (United Kingdom) in the Producer of the Year category.

Cartoon Forum 30th anniversary will take place from 16 to 19 September 2019.