Cartoon Forum, the pitching and co-production event for animated TV series, revealed a steady stream of European animation firmly focused on quality and creativity at the 24th edition of the gathering which ended last 20 September in Toulouse, France.
The three-day event enjoyed record participation by 850 professionals from the animation sector, presenting 68 European projects for series in development pitched to potential co-producers, broadcasters and investors to seek cross-border partners and speed up financial arrangements.
The professional forum underlined the ongoing leadership of France; the strength and vitality of smaller countries like Belgium, Ireland and Finland; the use of co-production to finance projects and penetrate new markets; and the increasing role of cross-media and transmedia to conquer new audiences.
Originality and talent in the highest attended projects
French animation retained a privileged role at the forum, presenting five of the 10 projects that drew the most enthusiasm led by “The Science of Botheration”, a hybrid series based on an original concept by France’s Vivement Lundi!. The project was the most highly attended in the history of Cartoon Forum.
France was also involved in the event’s second-most popular series: “Joe Giant”, TeamTO’s 3D project directed by Arthur Qwak.
The vitality of Belgian animation was evident in projects such as “Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service” (Creative Conspiracy) and “The Yule Log” (PANIQUE!) – a TV special from the popular series “A Town Called Panic” – which held third and fourth place by attendance. Ireland’s Jam Media stood out for the “Early Bird” project for pre-schoolers, reaching the fifth position.
The Top 10 was rounded out by five series adapted from books: “The Kingdom” from Belgium/ France’s Dupuis, by Belgian director Benoit Feroumont; “A Skeleton Story” from Italy (Mad Entertainment – RAI Fiction), by “The Art of Happiness” director Alessandro Rak; “The Badgers and the Foxes” from Dargaud Media (France); “The Little Medic”, from WunderWerk (Germany); and “Memories of Nanette”, from 2 Minutes (France).
New generations focus on new screens
Concepts such as transmedia, crossmedia and interactive animation are becoming more and more frequent among projects seeking to conquer audiences through multiple screens. Almost half of the TV projects presented this year were also developed for other platforms. Projects such as “Chamelia” (Technicolor, Mercury Films), “Urbance” (Denis Friedman Productions) and „Gigglebug” (Gigglebug Ent.) gave brilliant demonstrations of these concepts, showing interactive puppets and well-developed apps.
The variety of audiences targeted by European series continued to widen, ranging from children and preschoolers, who made up the bulk of the forum, to series for young adults and adults, which surprisingly had a resounding success at the event, like “Ultramort” (Coupé Films), “Drinking Tales” (Humpty Dumpty, Sacrebleu Prod.), “Urbance” (Denis Friedman Productions) and “Brenda’s Store” (Xbo Films, anoki).
Several projects have already found financing and broadcasters at the Cartoon Forum, like Cartoon Saloon’s “Puffin Rock” sold to Nickelodeon and RTE, demonstrating the efficiency of the event’s formula.
Local talent set to conquer Europe
For the second consecutive year, the organization of Cartoon Forum in Toulouse gave a fresh boost to animation from the Midi-Pyrénées Region and regional projects such as “Oueilles” (Le-Lokal Production) and “Brenda’s Store” (Xbo Films). In addition, a parallel festival to the forum called “On Cartoon” showed a selection of recent European animation films in different cinemas and public spaces throughout the city, giving the people of Toulouse a chance to live out their own passion for animation.
Germany surprises at the Cartoon Tributes
As in previous editions, the event served as a backdrop for the Cartoon Tributes, recognizing outstanding companies of the European animation industry. Germany’s Super RTL – RTL Disney Fernsehen and ZDF Enterprises were awarded Broadcaster of the Year and Investor/Distributor of the Year awards respectively, while Belgium’s Grid Animation won the prize for Producer of the Year. Xbo Films won the Tribute Toulouse Métropole award, aimed to highlight local animation talent.
“Head Over Heels” takes the Cartoon d’Or 2013
The impressive Saint-Pierre-des-Cuisines auditorium hosted a new edition of Cartoon d’Or, the only pan-European prize specifically for short films, chosen from prize-winning films from 10 major European festivals. This year’s award, sponsored by the MEDIA Programme, went to “Head Over Heels”, a stop-motion film about love and mishaps by Tim Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, produced at London’s National Film and Television School. The film was nominated for the Academy Award and has won over 30 other prizes at festivals all around the world.
The next edition of Cartoon Forum will take place from 23-26 September 2014 in Toulouse.
About CARTOON FORUM
Created in 1990 to boost the co-production and distribution of European animation for television and new media platforms, Cartoon Forum has helped 500 animation series obtain financing to the tune of over 2 billion euros. The main partners of Cartoon Forum Toulouse are MEDIA – the programme of the European Union, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), Région Midi-Pyrénées, Mairie de Toulouse, la communauté urbaine de Toulouse Métropole, Casino Barrière and France Télévisions