Cannes: Hewlett Packard’s Animated Debate

At a Hewlett Packard panel on the future of animation, participants sometimes crossed swords on the finer points of technology, but all agreed that, as in live-action, the script is the key to success.

The subject was technology but it quickly broadened into other toon areas. Frank Mannion, CEO of U.K.-based Swipe Films, pointed out the value of star names doing voice work in terms of fund-raising and marketing, even in countries where dubbing means the star voices are never heard. Marc du Pontavice, prexy-CEO of the successful Gallic toon company Xilam, added that in his experience, stage actors are more adept at vocal work than film thesps, even big-named ones.

Tiziana Loschi of the Annecy Festival cautioned that some filmmakers get so enamored with new technology that they ignore John Lasseter’s dictum that the three most important elements of a toon are “Story, story, and story.”

Michael Coldewey of the German shingle Trixter raised questions about the definition of 3D and stereoscopic 3D, and talked about the overlap between animation and visual effects (his company contributed to “Iron Man 3”).

The session, at the HP Lounge in the Majestic on Saturday, was moderated by Variety senior VP Tim Gray.

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