'Illusionist,' 'Planet 51,' 'Adventures' shortlisted

BERLIN — The European Film Academy has announced three nominees for this year’s European Film Award for animated feature film: “The Illusionist,” “Planet 51″ and “Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage.”

Sylvain Chomet’s adult-skewed U.K.-French work “The Illusionist,” based on an original live-action screenplay by Jacques Tati, tells the tale of an aging magician and his friendship with a young girl who, unlike most, is enthralled by his act.

“Planet 51,” a Spanish-U.K. co-production directed by Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad and Marcos Martinez, centers on an astronaut from Earth who lands on an inhabited planet, while Ben Stassen’s Belgian feature “Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage” follows a sea turtle on a 50-year journey around the world.

The nominees were selected by an EFA jury consisting of producers and EFA board members Per Holst and Antonio Saura, animated film directors and reps of European animated film association Cartoon, and Mark Baker and Giuseppe Lagana, and Serge Siritzky, managing editor of French film magazine Ecran Total.

The winner will be announced at the European Film Awards ceremony on Dec. 4 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Meanwhile, European animation was front and center at last week’s Cartoon Forum in Sopron, Hungary, where producers from across Europe presented 62 animated series projects to broadcasters and investors interested in animated content.

The three-day event drew some 700 participants from 33 countries, including 230 buyers.

French animation accounted for a third of the projects, while new European Union countries led by Hungary, presented 10 series, underscoring the animation industry’s rapid growth in the region.

Among this year’s highlights were titles from a new and up-and-coming producers, including “Babioles,” a French-Dutch co-production from Autour de Minuit Productions and Valk Producties; “Moutcho & Pitrouille,” from France’s Intervalists, Luxembourg’s LuxAnimation and Frakas Productions in Belgium; the U.K.’s “Sarah and Duck,” from Karrot Entertainment; “Jungle Report,” from France’s TAT Productions; and Norway’s “Leo & Maya” from Tryllefilm, BUG and Phantom Film.

Next year’s Cartoon Forum will be held Sept. 13-16 in Sopot, Poland.

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