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Catalonia Launches Animation Networking Summit

New Animation Summit Unspools Oct.10-11

Animation, which is enjoying a production boom over much of the international world, has a new promotion event: the 1st Anima’T Intl. Animation Industry Networking Summit, a spin-off from the Sitges Festival.

Scheduled strategically to take place in Barcelona and Sitges on Oct. 10-11 at the tail-end of Cannes’ Mip TV, the world’s biggest TV trade fair, Anima’T will unspool as animation production is booming in many emerging markets worldwide. It is also proving one of the most crisis-resilient forms of film and TV entertainment in recession-crunched southern Europe.

A networking, co-production and sales summit open to animation producers and buyers worldwide, Anima’T will host a dozen works-in-progress pitching sessions of animated features, TV series and multi-platform content, plus two master-classes, lectures and exhibitions.

Boasting some of Europe’s most re-known animation companies – Cartoon Saloon, Brown Bag Films, for instance – and talents, Ireland will be this year’s guest country.

A select pool of commissioning editors, distributors and programmers from European and U.S. companies will be invited to attend the event, said Jordi Sellas, the director general of creation and cultural companies of the government of Catalonia.

Guests will attend pitches in Barcelona, then segue to the Sitges Festival, just down the Mediterranean coast, on Oct. 11, Sitges’ opening day.  A fantasy-genre film event, Sitges has already developed its own highly popular Animat movie sidebar.

Boasting Barcelona as its capital, Catalonia, Spain’s richest big region, is putting its back behind Animat, whose partners include the Sitges Festival, the Catalan Animation Producers’ Assn. Animats, Catalan pubcaster TVC, Catalan Films & TV – PROA, and the Catalan Ministry of Culture.

Little wonder. International in its funding and markets, “Animation in Spain has never depended just on Spain, so is holding up despite crisis,” Sellas said.

Animation can attract significant outside investment, said Carlos Biern, CEO of BRB Intl., one of Spain’s top animation studios, and prexy of the Spanish animation producers assn., Diboos.

He pointed to BRB’s “Invizimals,” a Sony PlayStation Portable augmented reality vidgame developed by Barcelona’s Novarama, published by Sony Computer Ent. Europe and now being produced by BRB as an animation series, again using augmented reality.

Ireland doesn’t just boast talent. Its government is investing in animation-vidgame digital film schools, which channel young talent into private sector companies aiming to produce content for tablets and iPads. Foreign investment in Irish animation also benefits from tax breaks.

As Spain suffers 26.9% unemployment, with jobless levels especially high among young adults, Spain needs to take on board public-private sector tie-ups as the U.K. tax credit for animation and video games, Biern argued.

He added: “20 years ago, young people studied direction, screenwriting, makeup, acting. Now we need other types of professionals.”

Per Biern, Diboos’ talks with the Spanish government to introduce tax credits for Spain’s animation-vidgame industries following U.K. and Irish models “are advancing positively.”

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