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Host Region: Nou­velle-Aquitaine (France)

ANI­MA­TION, THE FLAG­SHIP OF THE NOU­VELLE-AQUITAINE REGION

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


SUCCESS 

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 Césars 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 Césars 2021. Josep” by Aurel (Les Films du Pois­son Rouge based in Angoulême) has received the 2021 Césars for Best ani­mat­ed film. 

Because of the Covid19 cri­sis, Uni­corn Wars” by Alber­to Vazquez, and Chick­en for Lin­da!” by Chiara Mal­ta and Sébastien Lau­den­bach are still in pro­duc­tion. The Neigh­bours of my Neigh­bours are Neigh­bours of Mine” by Anne- Lau­re Daff­is and Léo Marc­hand (Midral­gar) is com­plet­ed and is expect­ed in 2022. 


THE ANGOULÊME ECOSYSTEM

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 BD (comics) sec­tion of the School for Fine Arts then lat­er by the ani­ma­tion pro­gram orga­nized 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, theirs 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, 1200 pro­fes­sion­als and 1200 stu­dents in 14 spe­cial­ized schools that sup­ply not only local busi­ness­es, but also those around the world. 


A 100% HIR­ING RATE FOR GRADUATES 

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 17 schools that train 1500 stu­dents (2, 3 or 4 years course). 


THE SUP­PORT OF LOCAL AUTHORITIES 

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, 8 M€ on aver­age com­pared to 3 M€ 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 mobi­lizes an army of spe­cial­ized 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 2 M€ in the ani­ma­tion sec­tor, sup­port­ed by the CNC. The Char­ente depart­ment (1 758 000 € for the ani­ma­tion sec­tor out of a total sup­port fund bud­get of 2 250 000 €, CNC includ­ed) 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 final­ize 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”.


ANI­MA­TION AND VIDEO GAMES, A NICE COMPLEMENTARITY 

There is a strong link between the Nou­velle- Aquitaine region and video games, which host no less than 110 com­pa­nies rep­re­sent­ing more than 1000 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. Asobo, France’s lead­ing inde­pen­dent devel­op­er or Ubisoft). 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 spe­cial­ized 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.


MECA, THE NEW EMBLEM­AT­IC PLACE OF CULTURE 

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 will be at the heart of con­tem­po­rary cre­ation and of art in the mak­ing. Home of artis­tic hybridiza­tion, the MECA embod­ies the sup­port of cre­ative sec­tors in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.