PARIS– As toon producers increasingly look for international financing, Cartoon Forum, the 25-year-old animation confab, is proving more relevant than ever.
Hosted in Toulouse, the event will present 84 projects and welcome a record 850 participants from 30 countries.
“European animation has become the leader in its own territory, the number of productions has dramatically increased and export sales are the best of any in the European audiovisual sector,” per Marc Vandeweyer, managing director of Cartoon.
Underscoring the robustness of its toon industry, France is leading Cartoon Forum with 29 projects, followed by Belgium, Ireland and the U.K..
Whereas French animated features tend to struggle to travel widely, homegrown TV animation regularly lead export figures. In 2013, sales of French animation programs repped 34.2% of all export deals and reached 46.9 million Euros, a year-on 6.7% increase.
Co-production is still the favored route for European filmmakers looking to finance their projects. As much as 24% of the titles set to be pitched this year are already set up as co-productions between two or more European countries. Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, which remain popular co-production partners, are involved in five projects each.
The event also aims to widen its scope beyond Europe’s borders. This year it will draw a large delegation of execs heading from U.S. and Canadian companies, including Disney Channels, Nickelodeon International, Turner Broadcasting and DHX Media. Netflix, Amazon and Eurovod among other digital platforms, will also make the trip to Cartoon Forum for the first time. Nearly 40 % of the projects presented at the confab 31 projects have been conceived for multi-platform distribution — web, mobile, tablets and vidgame.
Scheduled in the run up to Mipjunior, Cartoon Forum has become a key market for industryites looking to find international partners – from private investors to broadcasters and co-producers — early on.
Cartoon Forum will host first-time guests from major European outfits who are not specialized in animation, notably TrustNordisk’s head of sales Susan Wendt, who will present Danish toon skein “Vitello (pictured above).”
“It is my first time attending Cartoon Forum, but have been at Cartoon Movie (the co-production mart for toon features) several times and feel it is a good way to meet with professionals from within the industry, said Wendt. “You have broadcasters, producers etc all under one roof, so it’s the best opportunity to get feedback and create interest and financing either as coproductions or presales.”
It’s also a big plus that “execs are captive for three long days with no other distractions,” quipped Bruno Felix, producer at Netherlands-based Submarine who will present “Fox and Hare.”
The participation roaster includes execs from Aardman Animation, AB International Distribution, BBC Worldwide, Toe Animation, Cake Entertainment, Canal Plus, PGS Entertainment, DQ Entertainment, ZDF, France Televisions and Zodiak. France’s Les Armateurs, Belgium’s Wakling the Dog, Luxembourg’s Melusine and Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon are among leading European arthouse shingles traveling to Toulouse.
Cartoon Forum runs Sept. 23-26.