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‘Killer, Penguin, Tom, Doll Face,’ ‘Black is Beltza,’ ‘Zero Impunity’ Pitched at Barcelona’s Cartoon 360

Transmedia forum registers surge in VR projects

BARCELONA —  “Killer, Penguin, Tom, Doll Face,” “Black is Beltza” and “Zero Impunity” are three of the twenty-four projects presented at Barcelona’s 4th Cartoon 360 this week.

The transmedia arm of E.U.-backed Cartoon Forum, the event aims to promote the development and production of digital contents based on European animation for unlimited formats and devices.

Of 24 presented projects, 11 are from Europe, two from Canada.

Produced by Lithuania’s Joni Art and Kinomind Films, Germany’s Now Films, Poland’s Braidmade and France’s Ikky Films, “Killers” –originally a feature– follows the inmates of a Child Development Centre for Children, “challenging viewers’ prejudices and opinions about socially excluded, stigmatized and isolated troubled teenagers,” its producers said in a statement.

“Zero Impunity” is produced by a_Bahn and Melusine Productions in Luxemburg, and Camera Talk and Webspider in France. It is described as a transmedia project “twinning research and activism in order to end impunity for sexual violence in current armed conflicts,” according to Stéphane Hueber-Blies and Nicolas Blies at a_Bahn.

Also targeting adult audiences, “Black is Beltza” is produced by the Basque Country’s Talka Records & Films and Catalonia’s Setmagic Audiovisual. Inspired by a comic-book, and shaping up as the fiction film debut of multi-tasking Basque artist Fermín Muguruza, “Beltza” kicks off in October 1965 when a group of Basque giants and carnival heads are invited to march down New York’s 5th Avenue on Hispanic Day. But the figures of two black giants are excluded from the parade. A true facts-inspired film, “Black is Beltza” turns on Manex, a young Basque who travels to New York to march rigged up as one of the carnival giants.

Cartoon 360’s projects take in features, TV-series, web-series, apps, comic-book and video games. According to Yolanda Alonso, Cartoon Masters and Cartoon Connection director, “the most important thing is to clearly establish the project’s content –its DNA–then choose the best platform and connect with appropriate audiences in the best possible way.”

Of other Cartoon 360 titles, ”Under the Sofa,” a family project from Spain’s Teidees Audiovisuals and potential web-series, depicts some tiny creatures living below a sofa. Other buzzed-up Cartoon 360 presentations included Norway’s “Planet Pling,” from Maipo Film, which mixes music, humor and sci-fi characters. Produced by Hungary’s Filmfabrique, edutainment series “Castaways” turns on a kid and his grandfather who are cast away on a desert island; ”Mavka, the Forest Song,” produced by the Ukraine’s Animagrad, features a magical forest nymph who falls in love with a human boy.

Alonso said this year’s Cartoon 360 underscored the large numbers of people developing or trying to develop Virtual Reality. “It’s a propitious moment. There’s more financing: Oculos, HTC or Samsung are investing a lot. But we still need more projects.”

Among projects and productions with VR extensions were, just from France, Arthur de Pins and Alexis Ducord’ “Zombillenium,” Folimage’s “Amnesia” and Autour de Minuit and Okio-Studio’s “Gagarin – Cosmic Trip.” VR in France enjoys institutional support and backing from clusters and organizations, Alonso pointed out.

Cartoon 360 is organized by the Cartoon European Association of Animation Film with the support of Creative Europe Media and the Government of Catalonia. Made up of presentations, one-to-one meetings and networking events, it ran May 29-31.

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