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Cartoon Forum: Finland’s YLE, Ireland’s 9 Story, France’s Folimage Take Home Awards

Toulouse animation event wraps up today

TOULOUSE, France — Finland’s YLE, Ireland’s 9 Story Distribution International and France’s Folimage have been awarded as Broadcaster, Investor/Distributor and Producer of the Year respectively at this year’s Cartoon Forum, which closes today in Toulouse.

Finnish public broadcaster YLE, through YLE TV2, airs over 3,000 hours of programming per year for 2-12s. YLE has become a proactive partner in animated TV series co-production, and alongside the recently approved 25% cash rebate for domestic and foreign investments is one of the keys to Finland’s new animation revival. Two recent productions in which YLE has participated are “Gigglebug” (Gigglebug Entertainment) and “Albi the Snowman” (Hima Light). The Nordic country was also honored at Cartoon Forum with a Spotlight.

Other nominées in this category were Italy’s DeAKids, Netflix and France’s TF1 Unite Jeunesse.

Founded in 1981 by Jacques-Rémy Girerd, France’s Folimage took the Cartoon Tribute Award for Best Producer of the Year.  Folimage’s production studio outfit is located in Bourg-les-Valence, in France’s Rhone-Alpes region, between Lyon and Marseilles. Folimage productions include Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli’s Oscar-nominated “A Cat in Paris,” “Aunt Hilda,” directed by Girerd, and TV series “Hilltop Hospital.” The studio is run by Reginald de Guillebon and Pierre Meloni, and owned by the Hildergarde Group.

Folimage brought TV special “Looking For Santa” to Cartoon Forum, a half-hour show about an lonely eight-year-old millionaire who is used to have everything in life. Uninspired by material gifts, he asks Santa Claus for his parents. Folimage co-produces two shows presented at Cartoon Forum –”We Are the Artists” (with France’s Ex Nihilo) and “Maëlys Mysteries” (alongside Belgium’s Panique! and Switzerland’s Nadasdy Film”).

Germany’s Akkord Film Produktion, Spain’s Anima Kitchent Media, Finland and Ireland-based Ink and Light and the U.K.’s The Illuminated Film Company were also in the running for the recognition.

The Tribute Award for Best Distributor of the Year went to Ireland’s 9 Story Distribution International, the distribution arm of Ontario’s 9 Story Media Group, with headquarters in Manchester and Dublin. They represent more than 2,700 half-hours of animated and live-action programming –some of the titles are “Almost Naked Animal” and “Daniel’s Tiger Neighborhood.”

Other nominees for Best Investor/Distributor of the Year were Connectoon (Italy), Gaumont Distribution TV (France) and Miam! Animation (France).

Other news out of Toulouse worth mentioning:

  • Founded by David Matamoros, Barcelona-based Doce Entertainment closed a co-production deal with Belgium’s Hofleveranciers and Beast Animation, which backed Stéphane Aubier & Vincent Patar’s “Panique au Village,” to produce “Joe & Waldo,” a show directed by Ben Tesseur and Steven de Beul (“Dimitri”). Backed by Belgium’s VRT-Ketnet, the series marks a second collaboration between Hofleveranciers and Doce Entertainment after Carlos Martín Ferrera’s live-action movie “The Year of the Plague.”
  • DeAKids will be involved in “Flo & the Intrepids,” according to Brenda Maffuchi, De Agostini head of acquisitions and property development.

Pitching sessions scoring the highest attendance at Toulouse, of an audience made up of industry executives and animators, were: “The Borrowers” (Blue Spirit Productions), “Splat & Seymour” (Just Kids), “Wooly Wooly” (Normaal, Groupe PVP), “Country Kids” (La Station Animation), “Billy – The Cowboy Hamster” (Dandelooo) and “Droners” (Cyber Group Studios, Supamonks, La Chouette Compagnie).

Other buzzy projects included “Tiny Bad Wolf” (Xilam), “Silly Sundays,” (Cartoon Saloon), “Looking for Santa (Folimage, Lunanime) “In Your Face” (Doncvoilà Productions, Bridges), Splat & Seymour (Just Kids) and “Selfish” (Kazak Productions).

Also receiving a good reception were “Tufo,” to be produced by Patrice Nezan at France’s Les Contes Modernes and “Mustard & Ketchup,” from Iain Gardner at U.K.’s Animation Garden.

A total of 83 animated TV series projects were presented this year, representing 22 European countries, €341.3 million ($396 million USD) in combined budget and a total of 513 hours of animated entertainment. According to the organisation, more than 1,000 participants attended this year’s event. 49.3% were women. 44% of all the projects are aimed at 6-11s, in line with last year (48%).

Since its first year in 1990, Cartoon Forum has become a crucial meeting point for animated series as part of a broader network encompassing four other events — Cartoon Movie, Cartoon 360 (devoted to transmedia world), Cartoon Connection (building a bridge between Canada, Asia and the European Union) and Cartoon Masters (a professional training program).

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