Report on Cartoon Movie 2021

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With a record number of buyers and participating companies, the 23rd edition of Cartoon Movie has lived up to the expectations of the challenging virtual environment. Despite having gone online, this event held on March 9-11 gathered 480 companies and 308 buyers, which amounts to an increase of 25% and 13% respectively compared to the previous year. Along with the recorded pitchings, which received more than 15,051 views , Cartoon Movie's digital platform made it possible for the producers to receive some 1,212 feedback forms on their projects, as well as to further promote networking and collaboration opportunities with industry professionals.

With the crucial support of digital resources and adapting themselves to the new dynamics imposed by virtuality, the pitching sessions displayed the unique and distinctive creativity behind European animated films. Shortlisted out of 96 submissions, the 55 selected projects were presented in a two-days’ program, and, in the same spirit of the physical event, the participants had the opportunity to gather afterwards in the Extra Time Corner. Altogether, the projects represented 76 hours of animation and an overall budget of EUR 297 million.

France led the list of countries with 21 projects, followed by Spain with 9. Denmark, Germany, Romania, and Italy participated with 3 projects each. The line-up also included films from Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden. A quarter of the projects had two or more European countries on board, with France, Belgium, and Luxembourg as the most active co-producers in the region. The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region was present in the selection with 8 projects produced by studios based in the area, confirming thus its commitment to animation and to building a true "Cartoon Valley" in the heart of Europe.


The line-up included 22 projects in concept, 22 in development, 8 in production, and 3 films already finished (sneak preview). Regarding French animation predominance, not only it was reflected in the total number of projects (40% of the total), but also in the great interest French works attracted from buyers.

Actually, the top-10* list is led by two French projects in development: “Sheba” and “Seraphine”. The former is an adventure film directed by Alexis Ducord and Benjamin Massoubre, and produced by Maybe Movies. Set in 1938 during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the film follows a 10-year-old girl in a voyage of self-discovery in search of her father, who has been kidnapped. Written by Marie Desplechin, “Seraphine” is a stop-motion and 3D film that stars a young foundling also in search of her father in late 19th-century Paris. Directed by Sarah Van Den Boom, the film is a Little Big Story production.

*The viewing numbers from “Arco” and “Checkered Ninja 2” only ran until 11 March, as the producers requested that the pitching sessions of these projects would be removed from the platform after the live event.

Two other French projects follow in the list, both comic book adaptations and in the in concept category: “Cut and Run” by Chloé Cruchaudet, produced by Blue Spirit Productions; and “Ninn”, a TeamTO film based on the graphic novel by Johan Pilet & Jean-Michel Darlot.

In fourth place, tied with "Ninn", sits an Italian production in development: “Copperbeak”. Produced by Ideacinema and directed by Adriano Candiago, this 2D animation project featuring an anti-hero goose is aimed at family audiences.

Two projects are currently tied for fifth place: Xavier Picard’s “Marie-Louise, My Little Princess”, a 2D film produced by Pictak and set in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, the host region to Cartoon Movie since 2017, and Nadia Micault’s “Shadows”, a project in development produced by Autour de Minuit (France) that received the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at the event.

Wrapping up the top-10 list are “The Midnight King”, an in concept project produced by Autour de Minuit that features a magical journey into a boy’s inner world; Frédérick Chaillou’s “Tsitili”, a coming-of-age film set in faraway Mongolia and produced by France’s Les Films du Poisson Rouge; “Red Jungle”, and animated documentary about Colombian guerrilla produced by Dolce Vita Films (France); and Czech Jiří Barta’s “Golem”, a project in development produced by Hausboot Production that combines 2D animation, stop motion and live action, and is aimed at the Young Adults/Adults audience.

Four other pitchings also had a high number of views: "Valentina", a project produced by Abano Producións about the dreams of a girl with Down's Syndrome; Jesper Møller’s “Granny Samurai - the Monkey King and I”, a family film produced by Germany’s Dreamin Dolphin Film; Benjamin Mousquet and Ben Stassen’s “Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness”, a project by Belgium’s nWave that follows the adventures of a young hero born half chicken and half hare; and Natia Nikolashvili’s “Igi”, a film produced by Georgia’s 20 Steps Productions that features a young hunter in the prehistoric.


As the European animation first major event of the year, Cartoon Movie is an excellent opportunity to get a snapshot of the sector and to learn about some of the current trends in European animation.

Animation for adults remains on the rise with 27% of the projects compared to 21% in the previous year, including titles such as "Your Spotted Skin", "Black is Beltza II: Ainhoa", "Birds Don't Look Back", "Winnipeg, Seeds of Hope", "Pepino the Accordionist", and "A Door to the Woods", among others.

Books and comics remain an important source of inspiration with a 33% of the total, including works by authors such as Amélie Nothomb (“The Character of Rain”), Josefine Ottesen (“Rosa and the Stone Troll”), Cezar Petrescu (“The Adventure of Fram the Polar Bear”), and Stephen Collins (“The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil”), among others.

Environmental issues are increasingly prominent in European animation, with challenging subjects such as the fight against climate change, among others. "Starseed", "White Plastic Sky", or "The Fire Keeper" are some of the projects addressing this concern.

Documentary finds in animation a means to expanding its boundaries and visually enhancing non-fiction stories. "Flee", "Flavours of Iraq", and "Adil" are among the animated documentaries presented in this edition of Cartoon Movie.

The selection featured a variety of genres ranging from comedy to adventure, drama, horror, science fiction, documentaries and coming of age stories, among others. This diversity was reflected in the issues addressed by the stories, as well as in the time frames and settings in which they take place.


Cartoon Movie was also host to a number of parallel activities aimed at promoting European animation such as Cartoon Games and Transmedia, that seeks to create synergies between the animation, video games and transmedia industries. "Reducing environmental impact in animation production" and "From watercolour to interactivity, a Transmedia journey with Dordogne" were two of the keynote talks included in this section.

Cartoon Movie´s Coaching Programme, a training initiative which gave 90 animation students from 8 schools in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region the opportunity to learn first-hand about the industry, was also among the parallel activities.

As it has been the case since 2018, the Eurimages Co-production Development Award was awarded at the event. The project “Shadows”, produced by Autour de Minuit (France) in coproduction with Panique! (Belgium) and Schmuby (France), and directed by Nadia Micault, received this 20,000 euros cash-prize allocated by The Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund.

. This 20,000 euros cash-prize given by The Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund was created to promote the Fund’s role in encouraging international co-production from the initial stages of a project.

The event has the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux Metropole, and Pôle Image Magelis.


Cartoon Movie’s next edition will be held on 8-10 March 2022 in Bordeaux.