Report on Cartoon Movie 2015


Based on figures from the latest edition of Cartoon Movie, the European animation sector remains in robust health. At the 17th edition of this pitching event celebrated for the seventh consecutive year in the French city of Lyon, over 750 professionals from the audiovisual sector enjoyed the opportunity to discover 60 new animation projects and films. Twenty-two European countries took part in the films’ production, totalling 82 hours of animation and a global investment of over 380 million euros. The event also revealed a growing interest by buyers to discover projects during their earliest stages of development, as well as the important role that co-production plays in financing European films.

During this new edition of Cartoon Movie, projects in concept and in development phase coincided with finished works such as the programme’s inaugural film “Shaun the Sheep”, the feature-length movie produced by British studio Aardman Animations and distributed by France’s StudioCanal. The hilarious film by Mark Burton and Richard Starzak is based on the popular TV series by the same name, a trend seen in other projects such as “The Jungle Bunch” (TAT productions), “Vic the Viking - The Movie” (Studio 100 Animation & Studio 100 Media) or “Ella Bella Bingo & the Bicycle Thief” (Kool Production & Gimpville), which are all in development stage.

Throughout the two-day event, participants had the opportunity to discover future European animated cinema hits at pitchings in the Rhône-Alpes and Lyon studios. The ample and diverse programme ranged from commercial projects for mainstream audiences to arthouse films with social and political themes, from preschool and family audience films to works targeting adult audiences, and from stop-motion or 2D animated films to CGI or 3D Stereoscopic projects.

The line-up of the event was diverse in genre and aesthetic proposals and confirms the degree of maturity achieved in the European animation industry and the support of Cartoon Movie, which has help 229 films complete their financing needs since 1999.


Participants were particularly drawn to “My Life as a Zucchini", a Franco-Swiss co-pro directed by Claude Barras and shot entirely in the Pôle Pixel Studio in Lyon, and “The Swallows of Kabul”, the new project of Les Armateurs co-directed by French actress Zabou Breitman.

Other films that generated a buzz included the stop-motion “The Army of Rabbits” (Foliascope); “Young Perez”, a drama based on a true story produced by Explicit Films; the futurist-western “Beausoleil” (Moteur S’il Vous Plaît Production); the comedy “Unstable” (Surfer Jack & Not Goliath Pictures); adventure film “Musketeers of the Tsar” (Est-Ouest Films), “The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily” - the first film by the well-known Italian illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti (Prima Linea) - and “Pachamama”, a journey to pre-Colombian civilization produced by Didier Brunner’s new company, Folivari.

The over 200 buyers at the event also showed considerable interest in 21 projects in concept, underscoring an increasing eagerness to discover new films in an early stage.

Participants also received a sneak preview of three films that will be coming out soon: “Cafard” (Tondo) a humane and moving adult film about the First World War directed by Jan Bultheel; the poetic “Adama” (Naïa Productions) and “Fearless Child. Dedicated to Iqbal”, produced by Italy’s Gertie and based on the book by Francesco D’Adamo.

In the completed films section, eight films travelled to Lyon hoping to seal new distribution agreements. These included “Song of the Sea”, the Oscar-nominated film by Tomm Moore; Spanish blockbuster “Mortadelo & Filemon. Mission: Implausible”; the 3D animated film set in China “108 Demon Kings”; Germany’s “Ooops! Noah is gone…”; family movie “Albert” and “Moomins on the Riviera”, a hand-drawn animation film based on the famous Finnish comic strip.

Cartoon Movie also cast the spotlight on “Made in Rhône-Alpes” animation in honour of its host region and the headquarters of successful animation companies with the presentation of “My Life as a Zucchini” and “Yellowbird”, the first production by TeamTO studio that was entirely created in France.


Cartoon Movie also revealed a growing number of fiction and documentary producers moving into animation with first-time projects such as Mysteo (“The Swallows of Kabul”), Explicit Films (“Young Perez”), Est Ouest Films (“Musketeers of the Tsar”), Mozaic Productions (“Hoodoo”), Moteur S’il Vous Plaît Production (“Beausoleil”), Les Films d’Ici (“Mister Wu”), and Les Contes Modernes (“The Tower”), among others.

Books and comics continued to be a significant source of inspiration for European animation, with literary adaptations comprising close to a third of the projects presented and including works such as “The Summit of the Gods” (Jirô Taniguchi); “Nöel au Balcon”(Didier Tronchet); “L'Affaire Furcy” (Mohammed Aïssaoui) and “Albert” (Ole Lund Kirkegaard).

Cartoon Movie 2015 was also the framework for some important announcements like the implementation of a research project to map out the landscape of the animation industry in Europe initiated and financed by the CREATIVE EUROPE - MEDIA Programme of the European Union. The European Audiovisual Observatory will undertake this study with the help of CARTOON and the Annecy-based City of moving images-CITIA. The first results will be presented at Mifa and the final survey at the end of 2015.


Once again Cartoon Movie served as a meeting point for the animation and video game sectors thanks to Cartoon Games, an activity that in its fourth edition brought 42 video game representatives from Belgium, Germany, France, Spain and the United Kingdom together with 31 animation producers during more than 500 meetings. Organised by CARTOON and Imaginove, the cluster of image and digital content in Rhône-Alpes, the aim of this initiative is to encourage the players of both industries to multiply opportunities for cooperation between animation and video games.


This year the Cartoon Movie Tributes, which recognize an individual or company’s contribution to the European animation industry as voted by the event’s participants, went to the UK and France. The winners were: 

  • Directors of the Year: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak for “Shaun the Sheep” (United Kingdom). 
  • Distributor of the Year: INDIE SALES (France), a Paris-based international feature film sales and co-production company, which specialises in commercial independent projects. 
  • Producer of the Year: the independent animation studio based in Paris TeamTO for “Yellowbird”. 

The Rhône-Alpes Region also awarded the prize for “Personality of the Year in Rhône-Alpes” to Patrick Eveno and Mickaël Marin, in charge of The Annecy International Animation Film Festival and its Market (Mifa), which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and gathers together more than 7,000 professionals every year. With this prize, the Rhône-Alpes Region wishes to highlight local animation talents that are the pride of this region, which is especially dynamic in the area of animation.


The event was not limited to the Centre de Congrés, hosting two activities for the inhabitants of the city of Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region: “On cartoon dans le Grand Lyon” and Cartoon Movie’s Coaching Programme. The first took a selection of recent European animated films to Grand Lyon cinemas for a month, while the Coaching Programme gave students from the region’s animation schools first-hand insight into the different aspects of the industry and master classes by recognized animators such as Xavier Picard, Mark Burton and Richard Starzak.

The 17th edition of Cartoon Movie was organised with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), the Rhône-Alpes Region, la Métropole de Lyon and in collaboration with the Imaginove cluster (Lyon).

Next Cartoon Movie will take place from 2 to 4 March 2016.