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CARTOON MOVIE 2022: EUROPEAN ANIMATION CAME TOGETHER AGAIN IN BORDEAUX
Cartoon Movie returned to face-to-face attendance for its 24th edition in Bordeaux after last year’s hiatus, when it was held online. Throughout two days, the main co-production forum for European animation showcased the next generation of films against the backdrop of a major transformation in the sector. Including solid projects and films that are ready to reach the audience, the selection offered a valuable look into the near future of the European animation industry.
Around 900 participants from 42 countries, including 296 buyers, had the opportunity to discover the 57 new projects presented at the Palais des Congrès de Bordeaux. With figures largely in line with those of 2020, this new edition of Cartoon Movie not only reflects this industry’s remarkable resilience to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, but also its ongoing recovery; all of this against the backdrop of movie theatres long-awaited reopening, while streaming platforms continue to gain ground within the industry.
Cartoon Movie was opened on March 8th by Annick Maes, CARTOON’s General Director, in a welcoming ceremony that also featured speeches from the partners of the event. Stéphane Delpeyrat, Vice-President of Bordeaux Métropole in charge of Economic Development and Employment, Education and Research, highlighted the vibrant audio-visual ecosystem in the area, while Frédéric Cros, General Director of Pôle Image Magelis, underlined the importance of this hub where some 30 animation and VFX studios and 16 internationally renowned schools are based.
Also present at the opening were Isabelle Boudineau, Vice-President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region in charge of European and international affairs, who also highlighted the strength of animation in the territory, and finally came to stage producer Tonje Skar Reiersen, who was in charge of presenting this year’s Cartoon Movie Spotlight on four Nordic countries: Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Finally, the current political situation was not overlooked at the opening of the Cartoon Movie; quite on the contrary, expressions of support for all the Ukrainian people, especially artists, animators and their families, and wishes for a prompt solution for this awful tragedy were widely heard during the welcoming ceremony as well as a stance for cooperation and call for solidarity within the animation professionals’ family.
A WIDE & DIVERSE SELECTION
In different stages of development, the works showcased in Bordeaux to decision-makers and professionals range from concept, in development and in production projects to finalised works ready to be released (Sneak Preview).The overall budget of the projects amounts to 266.3 million euros, while the average cost per film stands at 4.7 million euros. Together, the selected works equate to 77 hours of animation.
The 57 selected films bear witness to the wide range of themes, techniques, and graphic styles in current European animated filmmaking. Animation’s diversity was reflected in the different genres of the selected projects, including drama, comedy, adventure films, science fiction, animated music features, and documentaries, among others.
The line-up featured both films for the general public and auteur-driven films. Family films remain at the top of the list with a solid 51%, while films aimed at young adults/adults grew up to 37% compared to 27% in the previous edition. Regarding animation techniques, 2D is still on top, although it is almost on a par with 3D projects.
France led the list of countries with 15 selected projects followed by Spain with 8, while Belgium and Norway stand with 5 each. Projects from Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Latvia, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Netherlands were also presented.
A massive 85% of the films selected in the Sneak Preview or the In Production categories have already participated in Cartoon Movie as in concept or in development projects, thus confirming the relevance of the event in promoting animation production in Europe and helping the producers all the run to have their films produced and distributed. Moreover, Cartoon Movie has grown into a hotbed of film franchises, as shown by the presentation of “Ploey 2”, “Niko — Beyond the Northern Lights”, and “Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa”, sequels of original works that were pitched at Cartoon Movie in previous years.
PROJECTS THAT CAUGHT THE EYE
After each pitch, the producers of the project receive a list of the people who attended their presentation with the aim of speeding up financing, finding co-producers and engaging international distributors. Below is the Top 10 of the in development and in production projects that received the most attention from the buyers.
1. “Little Caribou” (Ireland)
2. “Marie-Louise” (France)
3. “The Amazing Maurice” (Germany/UK)
4. “Ellie and the Christmas Creep” (Luxembourg)
5. “Flow” (Latvia/France/Germany)
6. “Juul” (Belgium/Germany/Spain/Netherlands)
7. “Sultana’s Dream” (Spain/Germany)
8. “Trip to Teulada” (France/Italy)
9. “Just Super” (Norway)
10. “Ploey 2” (Iceland)
Whereas the Top 10 projects co-produced by two or more European countries that attracted the most attention from participants were:
2. “Young Vincent” (Netherlands/France)
3. “The Amazing Maurice” (Germany/UK)
4. “Titina” (Norway/Belgium)
5. “Mary Anning” (Belgium/France/Switzerland)
6. “Flow” (Latvia/France/Germany)
7. “Juul” (Belgium/Germany/Spain/Netherlands)
8. “Starseed” (France/Romania)
9. “At the Ark at 8” (Germany/Denmark)
10. “Living Large” (Czech Republic/France/Slovakia)
TRENDS & HIGHLIGHTS
Many of the trends detected in previous editions of Cartoon Movie continued to strengthen in this year’s event, such as the growing number of projects inspired by books — both graphic novels and novels -. “America” from Franz Kafka, “In Waves” from A.J. Dungo, “My Father’s Secrets” from Michel Kichka, and “Melvile” from Romain Renard are some of the literary works adapted into animation projects, which this year accounted for a third of the selected films.
With roughly another third of the selected projects, adult animation continues to gain ground despite having limited opportunities in the distribution circuit. “Vast Blue Antarctica”, “The Migrant”, “A World of their Own”,“Where Did It Go Wrong?”, “Eugène”,“Suzanne”,“Rock Bottom”,“Juul”,“Mars Express”, and “Porcelain Birds” are some of the films aimed at this target audience.
Projects by well-known directors such as Anca Damian (“Starseed”), Rémi Chayé (“Fleur”), Claude Barras (“You’re Not the One I Expected”), and Toby Genkel (“The Amazing Maurice”) were pitched at Bordeaux alongside others by up-and-coming directors, a combination which certainly strengthens the European animated industry.
Six years after the arrival of Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux, animation made in the territory is thriving. In fact, nine of the projects pitched at this year’s event were made locally:“In Waves”,“Living Large”,“Marie-Louise”,“Mars Express”,“Melvile”,“My Grandfather’s Demons”,“Porcelain Birds”,“Trip to Teulada”, and “Unicorn Wars”.
Every year, Cartoon Movie devotes a spotlight to a European country or region. On this occasion, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden were the spotlighted countries, which arrived in Bordeaux with a delegation of about 70 representatives, including 14 young talents, and a selection of nine projects: “Just Super”,“Magical Friends”,“My True Imaginary Friend – Mr. Clutterbuck”,“Niko - Beyond the Northern Lights”, “Odd is an Egg”,“Ploey 2”,“Titina”, and “Valemon: the Polar Bear King”.
Besides the pitches, Cartoon Movie also held Animation & Transmedia, an initiative aimed at building bridges and creating synergies between the transmedia and animation industries; and the Coaching Programme, a training event involving students from 9 animation schools in Bordeaux and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region and about 15 students from three Nordic animation schools.
TRIBUTES & EURIMAGES AWARD
With the aim of recognising the outstanding work by European animation professionals over the previous year, Cartoon Movie participants vote for the Cartoon Tributes winners in their three categories.
Recognised as Director of the Year for the animated documentary “Flee”, Jonas Poher Rasmussen has his feature already made history by scoring three Oscar nominations. The film is a co-production between Denmark, France, Sweden, and Norway. The Producer of the Year Tribute went to the team of “Even Mice Belong in Heaven”, directed by Denisa Grimmová & Jan Bubeníček, and co-produced by Czech Republic’s Fresh Films, France’s Les Films du Cygne, Slovakia’s Cinemart, and Poland’s Animoon. Finally, Charades was recognised as Distributor of the Year; based in Paris, this sales and co-production company’s catalogue includes animation movies from all over Europe, including “Marona’s Fantastic Tale”, “The Queen’s Corgi”, and “I Lost My Body”.
From left to right: Laura Irvine (Sun Creature), Jean-François Le Corre (Vivement Lundi !), Mathieu Courtois (Vivement Lundi !), Amy Spalletta (Sun Creature), Pierre Mazars (Charades), Carole Baraton (Charades), Yohann Comte (Charades), Grzegorz Waclawek (Animoon), Alexandre Charlet (Les Films du Cygne)
Also awarded during the Cartoon Movie, the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award went to “Melvile”, directed by Romain Renard & Fursy Teyssier and produced by Need Productions (Belgium) along with Creative Touch Studios and Special Touch Studios (France). With a cash prize of 20,000 euros, this award was created to promote the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund’s role in encouraging international co-production from the initial stages of a project. The winning project was chosen from among eight finalists by a jury composed of Emma Scott (Screen Ireland – Ireland), Frédéric Corvez (Urban Group – France), and Rose-Marie Strand (Folkets Bio – Sweden).
From left to right: Sébastien Onomo (Special Touch Studios), Anne-Laure Guégan (Need Productions), Romain Renard (Creative Touch Studios), Fursy Teyssier (Creative Touch Studios)
The next edition of Cartoon Movie will be held on March 7 – 9, 2023.