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Cartoon Digital, a forum for European digital animation, kicks off today Wednesday with a focus on Italy and executives in attendance from Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, Rai Ragazzi, Ubisoft, Entertainment One, Mattel, Gaumont, among other companies.

The conference will run entirely online through this Friday, hosted and backed by the government of Sardinia, Italy, in the wake of the launch in 2019 of New Animation in Sardinia, a production and training hub.  A second Sardinian initiative, Campus, now focuses on cinema sound and music. The focus on Italy takes in conferences, one-to-one meetings and a mentoring program for young animators.

Given new impulse in Europe, as well as a new distribution paradigm, by the drive into animation of global platforms, currently led by a head by Netflix, animation is seen and supported by public authorities as a priority growth industry in some parts of Europe, such as in Sardinia and France.

The size of its national industries is also growing. Total annual turnover of Italy’s animation industry now averages €180 million euros ($221 million), nearly one third of the value of Italy’s theatrical box office. The industry boasts 81 companies and a total work force of 5,000, according to Anne-Sophie Vanhollebeke, Cartoon Italy president.

High-level conferences include Disney EMEA Animation: New Voices & New Frontiers, which centers on how the company is developing original animation from Europe and Africa for new audiences and platforms.

Panelists are Orion Ross, VP of animation, digital and acquisitions for Disney Europe & Africa, and Shamik Majumdar, Disney creative director of original series animation across media networks and platforms.

Cristiana Buzzelli from France’s Rainbow and Oliver Dumont from the U.K.’s Entertainment One address opportunities for branded, animated content in today’s jam-packed digital arena in What is the Added Value of Digital Space for Successful Animated IPs?

Sola Media managing director Solveig Langeland and Karen Vermeulen from Gaumont steer a panel on Digital Distribution & Co-Production. This will provide insight on how producers can make the most out of  new sales and co-production opportunities for animated TV series and features in an ever-evolving animation scenario driven by studio-streamers.

Roadmaps for New Digital Talents will analyze London-based Wildseed Studios’ take on how to discover new talent, seen in its “What a Cartoonist” initiative, organized with Cartoon Italia. Speakers are Miles Bullough, co-founder of Wildseed Studios, and Marco Berardi, head of advertising for the Warner Media Group in Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Alongside Cartoon Business and Cartoon Springboard, Cartoon Digital forms part of Cartoon Masters, an umbrella training program which sits aside networking and co-production events such as Cartoon Movie and Cartoon 360.

The next Cartoon event, Cartoon Forum, Europe’s leading toon series co-production forum, runs Sept. 20-23 in Toulouse, southern France. Cartoon Springboard takes place Oct. 26-28.