Report on Cartoon Movie 2018


The twentieth edition of Cartoon Movie provided the perfect occasion to take stock of the current state of European animation, which - since 1999 - has multiplied its production of full-length films by five and continues to broaden its audience inside Europe and beyond. The diversity in both subject matter and aesthetic approaches, the growth and prowess of producers, as well as the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers constitute the driving force behind contemporary European animation. Over the past two decades, Cartoon Movie has established its position as a springboard for European animation projects and a gathering point to reflect on the current situation of the field and the challenges ahead.

For a second consecutive year, the main pitching and co-production forum for European animation took place in the French city of Bordeaux, capital of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and a region where cultural and creative industries play a driving role in the economy. The region’s talent was on full display in its four submissions (“Unicorn Wars”, “White Fang”, “The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily”, and “The Extraordinary Voyage of Marona”).

The Château Giscours - a 19th-century castle - greeted a record-breaking crowd of 900 participants from 41 countries, which included nearly 260 buyers.

Virginie Calmels (Vice-President of Bordeaux Métropole and Deputy Mayor in charge of Economy), François Bonneau (Président Pôle Image Magelis), and Éric Correia (Regional Councilor in charge of Creative Economy, Innovation and Cultural Rights) delivered opening remarks in the first session, which also included a Spotlight on Spain delivered by Oscar Graefenhain, Director-General of the Institute of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain (ICAA). With the session inaugurated, screenings began in the two rooms of the Bordeaux Palais des Congrès.

A total of 60 projects from 22 countries - mostly in concept or development phase - made up the lineup in this edition lead by France, Germany, and Spain, presenting 20, 7, and 5 projects, respectively. With a total budget of 321.7 million Euros, the selected projects add up to 82 hours of new animated film. Nearly half of all projects were co-productions between two or more European countries, underscoring the importance of a financing model that allows for wider audiences and circulation for European animation in the region.

Films aimed at child and family audiences made up more than 70% of the Cartoon Movie selection, whilst animation for adult audiences maintained a steady share (23%) and continues to seek out new distribution channels to reach its audience. In both cases, projects reflect the personality of a diverse body of work in animation, where filmmakers take risks in terms of both topics and aesthetics. 

The projects encompass a wide variety of universes and themes, set across known and unknown worlds -on the Earth, under the sea, and in outer space. With real and imaginary beings as protagonists, these stories also span genres from adventure and comedy to drama, science fiction, and political documentary. The projects invite us to travel to diverse countries, cultures, and galaxies -across present, past, and future.

Behind the works are experienced directors and talented young professionals. Directors like Nora Twomey (“The Breadwinner”), Jean-François Laguionie (“Slocum”), Lorenzo Mattotti (“The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily”), Enzo d’Alò (“A Greyhound of a Girl”), Kaspar Jancis, (“Captain Morten and the Spider Queen”), Karsten Kiilerich (“Hodja and the Magic Carpet”), Vincent Paronnaud and Alexis Ducord (“In the Dark and Mysterious Forest”) shared the stage with a generation of rising young animators, such as Anja Kofmel (“Chris the Swiss”), Raúl De La Fuente & Damian Nenow (“Another Day of Life”), Sinem Sakaoglu (“Kara”), Alberto Vázquez (“Unicorn Wars”), Alexandre Espigares (“White Fang”), Lenka Ivančíková (“Mavka. The Forest Song”) and Arnaud Demuynck & Rémi Durin (“Yuku and the Flower of the Himalayas”). CARTOON’s continued support of new talents in European animation continues to bear fruit, both by integrating the directors of projects presented in Cartoon Springboard (“The Precious Gift” by Lenka Ivancikova) and by providing opportunities such as the Coaching Programme.

The Coaching programme is a specific training initiative through which a group of animation students has an in-depth overview of the animation industry and the challenge related to a project launch. The coaching programme consisted in a Cartoon Movie presentation and the importance to make a good pitch by Agnès Bizzaro, followed by two masterclasses. This year, Nicolas Schmerkin (Producer – Autour de Minuit & Schmuby Productions) was invited to speak about the producer's role with his experience on the production of two feature films "Psychonauts" and "Unicorn Wars" ; Alexis Ducord intervened on the topic of writing and storytelling, helped by his director's experience on the feature film "Zombillenium", or how to make the transition between comic book and feature film. The programme has been followed by about 60 students from 9 training academies of the territory:  e-artsup, ECV, EMCA (Ecole des Métiers du Cinéma d’Animation), Bordeaux INP ENSEIRB-Matméca, ESMI (Ecole Supérieure des Métiers de l’Image) , L’ATELIER, ISG Bordeaux, MJM Graphic Design and Ynov Campus Bordeaux. Since 2018, a Business School, ISG Bordeaux, has been associated to the initiative: the students had the opportunity to discover and learn the financial arrangement challenge of a project and its production. Meetings between students of Animation Schools (with artistic and technical skills) and those from a Business School (with economic and management skills) aim on the long term to connect future professionals of the image industry and then maybe create production companies which will participate to the territory's dynamism and the strengthening of the sector. Two Belgian French-speaking schools, ENSAV (l'Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels de la Cambre) and HEAJ (Haute Ecole Albert Jacquard) were also invited to participate. The programme also allowed 30 Spanish animation students to get a behind-the-scenes look at Cartoon Movie’s dynamics and interact with European producers looking for talent.

The strong demand to take part in the event, the interest of the schools and the students, their assiduous presences and their enthusiastic feedbacks, during and after the event, show the utility of this programme with young talents of tomorrow.


French productions accounted seven of the ten projects who caught the most attention at the event.

  • “The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily” by Lorenzo Mattotti – Prima Linea Productions (France).
  • “Dragonkeeper” by Ignacio Ferreras & Jian-Ping Li – Dragoia Media (Spain).
  • “Terra Willy” by Eric Tosti – TAT productions (France).
  • “The Boy Who Switched Off the Sun” by Chris Capstick – Fourth Wall Creative (UK).
  • “What a Circus!” by Eric Gutierrez – Label Anim (France).
  • Elli and the Ghostly Ghost Train” by Piet de Rycker & Jesper Møller – Zooper Film (Germany).
  • “Unicorn Wars” by Alberto Vázquez – Autour de Minuit (France).
  • “The Sea Wolf” by Emmanuel Gorinstein – Elda productions (France).
  • “White Fang” by Alexandre Espigares – Superprod (France).
  • “Lulu & Nelson” by Paul Leluc – Les Armateurs (France).


Spanish animation was the guest of honor at the 20th Cartoon Movie. Organized by ICAA and the Spanish Federation of Animation Producers’ Associations (Diboos), with support from ICEX Spain Exports and Investments, and Animation from Spain, the Spotlight on Spain included, in addition to pitches for 9 projects with Spanish participation, presentations by Spanish studios and diverse activities designed to promote the talent and fiscal incentives offered by Spain in the area of animation.

Spain was present at the 2018 Cartoon Movie with five projects: “Dragonkeeper”, the first co-production between Spain and China, co-directed by Ignacio Ferreras (“Wrinkles”); “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles”, directed by Salvador Simó; “Elcano, the First Journey Round the World”, a production of the Basque Dibulitoon Studio directed by Ángel Alonso; “Gabo – Memories of a Magical Life”, a film inspired by the graphic novel about the Nobel Prize laureate for literature, Gabriel García Márquez; and “The Impossible Journey”, an adventure film aimed at family audiences combining 3D animation and real images. Additionally, four selected co-productions have minority partners from Spain: “One More Day of Life”, “Unicorn Wars”, “Trip to Teulada”, and “My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons”.


Spain also played a leading role in the Cartoon Tributes, a recognition of outstanding contributions by companies and individuals to the development of European animation over the past year. Recipients were selected during the event by attendee votes -which were cast, for the first time, electronically- and the winners were:

Director of the Year: Dorota Kobiela (Poland) & Hugh Welchman (UK) for “Loving Vincent”

Distributor of the Year: Latido Films (Spain)

Producer of the Year: Platige Films (Poland), Kanaki Films (Spain), Walking the Dog (Belgium), Wüste Film (Germany), Animationsfabrik (Germany) and Puppetworks (Hungary) for “Another Day of Life”.

Left to right: Eric GOOSSENS (Walking The Dog), Amaia REMÍREZ (Kanaki Films), Jaroslaw SAWKO (Platige Films), Jarzyna KATARZYNA (Platige Films), Raúl de la Fuente (Co-director “Another Day of Life”), Dorota KOBIELA (Director “Loving Vincent”) and Oscar ALONSO (Latido Films).

For the first time, Cartoon Movie also hosted the presentation of the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award, awarded by the Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund to encourage international animated co-production from the initial stages of a project. The winner of the 20,000 Euro cash-prize was “Kara” by Sinem Sakaoglu, to be co-produced by Visual Distractions (Germany) and Beast Animation (Belgium).

Outside the scope of animation, Cartoon Games & Transmedia was held a day before the festival as a preamble to Cartoon Movie. The event seeks to encourage new synergies between the animation and video game industries.

Cartoon Movie is organised by CARTOON with the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), Region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux Metropole, the City of Bordeaux and Pôle Image Magelis. The 21st edition of the event will be held in Bordeaux on 5 – 7 March, 2019.