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Gilliam, Leconte, Trueba grace Cartoon Movie

Participation, submissions set all-time records

Terry Gilliam, France’s Patrice Leconte and Spain’s Fernando Trueba will showcase animated features at Cartoon Movie, Europe’s premier toon co-production forum, in March.

Gilliam presents “1884,” a futurist fantasy directed by Brit digital animation specialist Tim Ollive, with unnamed former Monty Python team members attached to the British voice cast. Gilliam is one of “1884’s” producers.

Admired for live-action features, Leconte will detail progress on his in-production “The Suicide Shop.” Its stereoscopic 2D, recalling children’s pop-up illustrated books, sparked buzz at June’s Annecy Animation Festival.

A romantic comedy set in the 1940s Latin jazz scene and beyond, “Chico and Rita,” from Trueba and Spanish designer Javier Mariscal, played the Telluride and Toronto fests and drew rave reviews in a limited U.K. release in November.

Pics are Gilliam, Leconte and Trueba’s first toon features.

Registration levels suggest that while toon producers faces tougher domestic markets, animation production is still growing in Europe.

Running March 2-4 in Lyon, France, the 13th Cartoon Movie currently has 570 registered participants, its highest figure. It received 90 project submissions, 20% up on 2010, with the total budgets for the toons up 20% to €385 million ($523.2 million).

Some 85 distributors and 64 investors have signed on, said Cartoon general director Marc Vandeweyer.

Cartoon Movie will spotlight 55 toons split among completed films, pics in production and projects at concept stage.

There’s a sharp rise in movies targeting young-adults/adults, up 30% to 15 vs. nine in 2008.

Among them: “The Jungle,” with Hungary’s Tibor Banoczki adapting Upton Sinclair’s novel; “Wrinkles,” from Spain’s Ignacio Ferreras, about Alzheimer’s disease; Simon Rouby’s immigration tale “Adama”; and “The Sampo,” a bigscreen android vidgame makeover helmed by Fin Karl Juusonen, co-director of box office hit “Nico and the Way to the Stars.”

“There are a lot of projects with modern, ethnic and adult content. That’s the trend this year,” Vandeweyer said. Projects range from low-budget movies such as the $2.9 million “Little Caribou,” Barry Donoghue’s delicately hand-drawn tale of two Inuit siblings, to the $20.4 million “French Riviera,” produced by EuropaCorp and Les Armateurs. Toon is “a vintage thriller using 3D CGI animation with an Art Deco rendering,” according to Armateurs’ Didier Brunner.Potential highlights include films from Gallic animation powerhouses Les Armateurs, Folimage and Herold and Family, plus the painterly 2D/3D “The Picture,” from vet French writer-director Jean-Francois Laguionie (“Black Mor’s Island”), an associate of Michel Ocelot.

Some pics have considerable market appeal.

2D “Santa’s Apprentice,” produced by Gaumont-Alphanim, is a Weinstein Co. U.S. pickup, and has been licensed to 20 territories.

Also screening is one of Europe’s indie 3D toon pics, “Animals United,” from German giant Constantin Film. It has grossed $25 million after opening in Germany ($14.1 million), Russia/Ukraine ($5.2 million) and U.K./Ireland ($3.6 million) among other countries.

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