Cartoon Movie Mart Eyes Global Expansion

European mini-mart may welcome projects from other continents

PARIS – International toonsters looking for European funding and co-production partners will likely have a new door to knock on next year as Cartoon Movie — a co-financing and co-production mart for animation in Lyon, France — mulls opening up to world projects.

“We think Cartoon Movie should grow as an international event,” said Cartoon topper Marc Vandeweyer at the confab’s 15th edition, which wrapped Friday. “What we need to do first is to consult the (European Union’s funding scheme) Media Program and then speak to European producers.”

This year, Cartoon Movie drew 700 participants — 20% up on 2012 — and welcomed for the first time distributors from the U.S., Canada, South Korea, India, Russia and Latin America. The next step, as envisioned by Vandeweyer, would be to bring in more international producers and distributors to give Euro producers greater chances of funding their features; and include non-Euro titles in the lineup of projects that are being pitched at the event in front of distribs, sales agents, and execs from TV broadcasters and regional funds.

The mart is one of the events organized by Cartoon, a Brussels-based nonprofit org partly funded by the Media Program.

In recent years, Cartoon has expanded to South Korea, Canada and Latin America with the launch of Cartoon Connection — three-day confabs aimed at building bridges between the industries in Europe and those regions.

Of the 47 projects at Cartoon Movie this year, the most buzzed-about were Sylvain Chomet’s “Swing Popa Swing,” a burlesque prequel to “The Triplets of Belleville”; Pascal Morelli’s “The Prince of the Demon Kings”; Patrice Leconte and Regis Vidal’s feel-good, high-concept toon “Music”; Jean-Francois Laguionie’s melancholic “Louise in the Winter”; Arthur Qwak’s supernatural period thriller “Rise of the Zelphire” and Enrique Gato’s moon adventure “Capture the Flag,” his follow up to Spanish blockbuster “Tad, the Lost Explorer.”

Cartoon Movie also hosted the second edition of Cartoon Games, a sidebar aimed at creating synergies between vidgames and animated features. It attracted 47 companies — twice as many as last year — and featured keynotes from Rovio Entertainment, Ubisoft and Copenhagen Bombay execs, who discussed cross-media strategies.

Vandeweyer applauded the creative accomplishments or Euro animation over the past 15 years.

“In terms of creativity and know-how, European animation has nothing to envy about its American counterparts. But our challenge going forward is to take our marketing strategy to another level to be more competitive,” he said.

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