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.