Euro biz tooning in to confab

Cartoon Tributes, producer, distrib kudos bow at event

BERLIN — A record number have signed up for the third annual Cartoon Movie animation confab, running March 15-17 at Babelsberg Studios.

Some 500 producers, distributors, investors and TV acquisition execs are expected to attend the event organized by European Union animated film initiative Cartoon, the Berlin-Brandenburg Filmboard, the European Film Center Babelsberg and private sponsors.

Distribs attending include Buena Vista Intl., Warner Bros., Germany’s Kinowelt and Senator, Cecchi Gori and Mikado Film from Italy, Gaul’s Gebeka and Haut et Court and Winchester Films from the U.K.

Many animated pics do boffo biz in their home countries but don’t travel well across the continent, often because distribs are unwilling to support them. “We intend to encourage and demonstrate the sure reach and profitability of pan-European distribution,” said organizers.

Completed pics on offer include the European co-production “Help, I’m a Fish,” Neuroplanet France’s “Little Hippo” and “The Sunshine Princess” from Italy’s Off Limits. Among features still in production are “Corto Maltese,” based on the popular comics of Italian artist Hugo Pratt; “The Little Polar Bear” from Germany’s Cartoon-Film; and “Tristan and Isolde,” from Luxembourg’s Oniria Prod.

Also new to the event will be the Cartoon Tributes — awards to the best European animated film (although not necessarily of the past year) as well as producer and distrib of the year kudos.

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