Host Region: Nou­velle-Aquitaine (France)

Jim Queen (c) Bobbypills


Animation is the flagship of the film and audiovisual sector in Nouvelle-Aquitaine; for fifteen years, it has gone from one success to another.


Many films made in Nouvelle-Aquitaine made a lot of people talk about them. “The Red Turtle”, entirely made in Angoulême and co-produced with the legendary Ghibli studios in Japan, has already received the Jury Prize at Cannes in the “Un Certain Regard” category in 2017. It is also the only film included in the three devices National School/College/High school students and apprentices in cinema and cinema baccalaureate program in 2018. “My Life as a Courgette”, partially manufactured in Angoulême, was distinguished with two Cesars and the European Film Prize for the best animated film. “The Bears’ Famous Invasion” by Lorenzo Mattotti (2019), an animated film adapted from the youth novel by Dino Buzzatti produced by Prima Linea, an Angoulême-based company, has inherited two prestigious selections: at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 in the category “Un Certain Regard” and at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2019 in Official Competition. It is the same with “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” by Anca Damian (2019) selected in Annecy in 2019, produced in particular by the Bordeaux production company Marmitafilms (Midralgar). “Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary” by Rémi Chayé, director of “Long Way North” has received the highest distinction with the “Cristal d’Argent” in Annecy 2020. The film was also nominated for Best Animated Film at Cesars 2021. “Josep” by Aurel (Les Films du Poisson Rouge based in Angoulême) has received the 2021 Cesars for Best animated film.

The film “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” by Pierre Foldès has received the “Mention du Jury” in Annecy 2022. And it has received the Best Original Music Award in Les Arcs in 2022: the original music was co-edited by Cristal Publishing in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region. This film is co-produced by Cinema Defacto and Miyu, based in Angoulême.

Finally, “Little Nicholas - Happy as Can Be” by Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre was awarded the “Cristal d’Argent” in Annecy in 2022. This film was partly made in Angoulême in the Shan Too Studio.


At the beginning, there was the Angoulême Comics Festival, the School of Fine Arts and a tradition of paper manufacturing. Over the years, the whole created a synergy that started snowballing thanks to the continued support of local communities. A few animation studios set up, followed by others, supported by the comics (BD) section of the School for Fine Arts then later by the animation program organised by the school... The Image Cluster was launched.

Since 1997, Magelis has consolidated all the players in the sector. Today, Angoulême is France’s number two production center for animated images in France, just behind Paris. For Christophe Jankovic, producer of “The Red Turtle” and “The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily” with Valérie Schermann at Prima Linea Productions, the Image Pole “is a jewel of the audiovisual industry in the Region, there’s is nothing like it anywhere in Europe, nothing as diverse or varied”. Prima Linea came here from Paris in 2003 for its first feature film and finally stayed, today with three studios, charmed by the local quality of life and dynamism: “There was vitality with the Comics City, the festival, the house of writers, the image schools, among which the EMCA (school for the animation industry) the heart of the pool had already been built”. The pole has grown significantly since its inception. It’s now a sector of the economy in its own right”, says François Belenguer, director at Objectif 3D, a training school for 3D installed in 2017 in Angoulême. “There’s no way back now”. Today, the image section has nearly 40 animation studios, 1,200 professionals and 1,200 students in 14 specialised schools that supply not only local businesses, but also those around the world.


It’s a little-known fact outside the sector, but animation is a booming industry. Companies have orders until 2022-2023 and not enough staff to meet them”, says François Belenguer. Forty-five percent of animated television series broadcast on national screens are made in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This figure has been steadily increasing in recent years as the new tax credit boosted the competitiveness of local jobs and repatriates entire sectors of production from Asian countries. “Studios prefer to hire French animation professionals who have a better know-how. The results are incomparable. There is a French touch that cannot be found elsewhere”, adds François Belenguer. “We have a 100% hiring rate for graduates”. More broadly, by adding the Bordeaux’s schools, the animation sector is supported in the region by 15 schools that train 1,500 students (2, 3 or 4 years course).


Animation is the sector of the French film and audiovisual industry with the best export figures because films have a rather long life. But they are also the most difficult to produce since the specificity of the sector is the very high manufacturing costs, 8M€ on average compared to 3M€ for a film in real shots, and the production time – more than 3 years. Animation is expensive because it is laborintensive: from the layout to the composition through the lighting or decorations, each film mobilises an army of specialised technicians. “Because of these high costs, funding is very scarce: CANAL+, France3 Cinéma, Arte with a film per year. International co-production is therefore the rule.” The Region is investing 2M€ in the animation sector, supported by the CNC. The Charente department has a similar budget to support the sector. For every two euros that the Region provides for production support, the CNC adds one euro.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine has the number one support fund for animation in France. This is a real plus to allow starting a production because the money from the local authorities is “real money” explains Christophe Jankovic, not a promise of purchase from a distributor. “It’s often the support of local authorities that makes it possible to finalise a budget. The challenge for the coming years will be to strengthen this system”. For Catherine Esteves, General Manager of Les Films du Poisson Rouge, created and established in the region in 2008, “the support fund is a privileged partner. Privileged because loyal. Privileged because it knows the company and the projects well. Even if we cannot know in advance when we submit a project whether it will be followed or not, we have the assurance that it will be studied under a benevolent, very professional prism”.


There is a strong link between the Nouvelle- Aquitaine region and video games, which host no less than 110 companies representing more than 1,000 jobs. While the regional fabric is mainly composed of structures with less than 10 employees, there are flagship companies and today leaders in the sector (e.g. Ubisoft or Asobo, France’s leading independent developer). The ecosystem is particularly favorable to the development of this sector of activity with training courses of national and international renown (e.g. Cnam-Enjmin) and the presence of specialised professional association (SO·Games). Following the adoption of the Digital Roadmap by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region in June 2018, the video game sector is one of the regional priorities.


Inaugurated in June 2019, the MECA – the House for creative economy and culture, is located quai de Paludate in Bordeaux, on the banks of the Garonne near the Saint-Jean train station. The MECA brings together the Frac Aquitaine (Regional Fund for Contemporary Art) and the two regional cultural agencies: ALCA (Film, Audiovisual and Book Agency) and OARA (Regional Artistic Office – live entertainment). This creative community center was designed as a true hub for regional artistic creation and production where directors, producers, visual artists, choreographers, comedians, authors, editors... come together and in which the citizens are at the heart of contemporary creation and of art in the making. Home of artistic hybridisation, the MECA embodies the support of creative sectors in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In 2022, the Meca has received the International Architecture Award ‘Uli Global Awards for Excellence’.