'Monster,' 'Ronal,' 'Zarafa' directors shortlisted

PARIS — Helmers of Gallic tale “A Monster in Paris,” French 2D hand-drawn adventure “Zarafa” and Danish 3D comedy “Ronal the Barbarian” will compete for director kudo at Cartoon Movie, the European co-production forum, which kicks off today in Lyon.

“A Monster in Paris” is director Bibo Bergeron’s return home after working on a string of DreamWorks pics, including “Shark Tale” and “The Road to Eldorado.” The pic, produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, has been a critical and commercial success in France, the U.K., Russia and Belgium.

“Zarafa,” helmed by Remi Bezancon and Jean-Christophe Lie, is Bezancon’s first venture into animation. He previously wrote and directed three live-action films, including the critically acclaimed “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” which won three Cesar awards in 2009.

“Zarafa” and “A Monster in Paris” were both nommed at this year’s Cesars.

“Ronal the Barbarian,” directed by Thorbjorn Christoffersen (“Journey to Saturn”), Philip Einstein Lipski and Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen, has been sold to 26 territories, including France and Germany.

Cartoon Movie’s Best European Distributor noms go to Benelux’s Cineart, which released “Waltz With Bashir,” “Persepolis” and “The Rabbi’s Cat”; Pathe Distribution, the French mini-major behind Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist” and “Zarafa”; and Romania’s Transilvania Film, distributor of “Persepolis,” and “Ronal the Barbarian.”

Gaul’s Blue Spirit Animation (“Le Tableau”) and Moonscoop (“Titeuf”), and Spain’s Perro Verde Films (“Wrinkles”) will vie for European producer of the year.

Cartoon Movie has attracted more than 700 participants from 35 countries, including 185 buyers, up 7% on last year. Acquisition execs from DreamWorks Animation, Fox Searchlight, France’s Studiocanal and Wild Bunch Distribution, and Germany’s Senator, among others, have registered.

The event is launching Cartoon Games, which will connect more than 30 animation producers with 25 vidgames reps from Ubisof, Rovio and European Games Group, among others.

Cartoon Movie runs until Friday.

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