Report on Cartoon Forum 2017
EUROPEAN ANIMATED SERIES RISE UP IN TOULOUSE
With diversity and artistic quality as its main characteristics, the production of animated series continues to expand in Europe, with works that deal with all type of issues, made with multiple animation techniques and directed to a wide range of audiences.
This fact has been reflected in the latest edition of Cartoon Forum, the co-pro pitching forum for television series that from 11 to 14 September presented a selection of 82 projects from 23 countries and its producers travelled to the French city of Toulouse looking for international partners.
The 28th edition of the Forum was launched with a welcome dinner for 950 professionals from the 40 registered countries.
Jean-Luc Moudenc, Mayor of Toulouse and President of the Toulouse Metropolitan Area, opened officially the Cartoon Forum, an event that took place in the “Ville Rose” for the sixth consecutive year. In his welcoming remarks, Moudenc highlighted the dynamism the animation sector has gained in the city and region of Toulouse, becoming a source of economic development, job creation and international recognition.
Dominique Salomon, Vice-President in charge of Culture, Heritage and Regional Languages of the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, highlighted the active support of the institution to this booming industry that has no less than twelve production studios established in the region.
Moving towards its three decades of existence, Cartoon Forum has witnessed the changes the animation sector has experienced in the continent. In this edition, digital platforms showed a growing interest in the new European animated series. Players such as Netflix or Amazon kept an eye on the pitching sessions together with the record number of 250 buyers, including broadcasters, distributors and investors.
TIME TO DISCOVER
Through the three pitching rooms at the Centre de Congrès Pierre Baudis all kinds of characters walked by: heroes and villains, animals and objects that come to life, bigfoots, dinosaurs, beings from other galaxies… Characters who live their adventures in this world or in fantastic universes and who teach values with a lot of humour, talk about respect for nature, diversity, friendship, emotions and solidarity.
With 50 and 38% respectively, the series targeting children between the ages of 5-12 and pre-schoolers keep being majority, while adult series have begun to arouse the interest of VoD platforms while they wait for an opportunity in air and pay TV schedules.
The French leadership is undeniable, and the country not only led the line-up with a third of the projects but was also present with nine titles in the top 10 that caught the investors' attention. The first titles on the list were “Stinky Dog” (Dandelooo / Folivari / PANIQUE!) and “The School of Magic” (TeamTO / Nexus Factory), both co-produced by Belgian studios, demonstrating the active role that this small country has.
Other French projects that attracted interest were “Galactic Agency” (Studio 100 Animation), “MOKA” (Xilam Animation), “PaperToyz” (Samka Productions), King of Space (Cyber Group Studios), “Shooom's Odyssey” (Picolo Pictures), “Brazen” (Agat Films & cie) and “When I Was Your Age” (Monello Productions).
Ireland - the second country with the most selected projects - stood out with “The Slimefoots” (JAM Media), “The Lost Letter” (Dream Logic Animation Studio), “Hare and the Prisoner” (Ink and Light) and “Neenawsaurs!” (Kavaleer Productions), while the most popular Belgian projects were “Ollie” (Lunanime), the TV Special “The Agricultural Fair” (PANIQUE!) and “Zibilla” (La Boîte,…Productions).
Two British projects - “Elle & Everest” (Lawrence / Hadley Buck) and “Thorgar” (Collingwood & Co) - and a Finnish one - “Tulipop Animated Series” (Tulipop) - also caught the attention of investors, positioning themselves in the top 20. Animation in Finland and Poland continues to gather place, while Italy and Spain maintained their presence at similar levels as in previous editions. Twelve countries were present in the selection with one project, including Serbia that participated for the first time in the Forum, demonstrating that the production of animated works is expanding throughout the continent.
Animation continues to grow in Toulouse and the Occitanie Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region, which pitched three projects: “AVNI, Unidentified Friendly Oddity” by Milan, “Chicken of the Death” by anoki, and “The Survival of the Species” by Xbo films.
The arrival of Cartoon Forum in Toulouse in 2012 has meant an unparalleled boost for the production in this region, from where many successful projects have emerged, such as “The Jungle Bunch”, the TAT series that has been sold to close to 200 countries and that has made it to movie theatres with a film that has already been seen in France by more than 650,000 admissions. Another indisputable proof of the dynamism that animation is gaining in the region has been the launch of Les Affranchis - a new 2D studio driven by local studios anoki, Le-Lokal and Xbo Films and Melting Productions from Paris - that was presented some days before the start of the Forum.
Emerging new talents also played an important role at Cartoon Forum, as three Cartoon Springboard projects were selected for this edition of the Cartoon Forum. In addition, during three days animation students from France and Poland took part of the Coaching Program in order to get in touch with the sector and understand the dynamics of the event.
With the aim of building bridges beyond European borders, Cartoon Forum hosted three South Korean projects that were invited to the event after being selected by European broadcasters at Cartoon Connection Asia-EU, another of CARTOON's programs.
WHITE AND RED IN TOULOUSE, THE VILLE "ROSE"
This year Cartoon Forum dedicated its spotlight to animation in Poland. Through various activities and presentations, European animation professionals had the opportunity to discover the country’s animation studios. Five Polish series and a minority co-production have been selected in the event: “A Great Worry” (TV Studio Filmów Animowanych), “Bianca & Albert's Patchwork Kingdom” (Serafiński / Studio Miniatur Filmowych), “I Love This” (Animoon), “Sol & Liv” (Letko / Animoon) and “The Wriggles” (Badi Badi / Saint Tropez). In addition, the Polish production company Warsaw Movie Home participated as a co-producer in the Italian project “Leo Da Vinci”. Led by the Polish Animation Producers Association (SPPA), this has been the second Spotlight at Cartoon Forum, after the focus on Ireland in 2016.
Moreover, the Emile Awards were launched, a new European prize that rewards the skills of European animation professionals in 16 different categories that will be given on 8 December in Lille. CARTOON has joined this initiative, consequently suppressing the Cartoon d'Or Award to the Best European animated short film created in 1991.
One more year, the most outstanding professionals of the sector were recognized with the Cartoon Tributes in which the Forum participants vote to choose the broadcaster, investor / distributor and producer that have had a positive and dynamic influence in the TV animation industry over the past year. Two of the three awards went to France: France Télévisions (Broadcaster of the year) and Dandelooo (Producer of the year), while in the Investor / Distributor of the year category the prize went to Beta Film of Germany. Also Patrick Eveno, General Director of CITIA and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, received a Cartoon Tribute of Honour in recognition of his career.
The citizens of Toulouse also joined the great European animation event with Les Toons Débarquent! (The Toons Are Coming!), a local initiative that from July 14 to September 15 has promoted animation by showing feature films and short animated movies from all over Europe and that will allow a dialogue with directors such as Benjamin Renner (“The Big Bad Fox”) and Claude Barras (“My Life as a Courgette”). The 2017 edition will continue to run until November 5 in the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region.
Toulouse's pride for its creators was confirmed in the exhibition that the Muséum of Toulouse dedicated to “Les As de la Jungle” and that was visited by the Forum attendees.
As usual, Cartoon Forum ended up with a farewell dinner held in the historic Manoir du Prince in homage to Poland.