Cartoon Forum, Europe’s premier marketing event for TV animation series, has held its 25th edition in the southern French city of Toulouse – a chance for producers, broadcasters and investors to meet.
A record number of participants took part this year in the event which featured 84 new projects. Both public and private broadcasters play a crucial role in developing and financing European animation series.
Digital platforms searching for content for their Video on Demand offerings also play an important role.
The highlight of the event is the presentation of the projects. What matters is the first impression. There is a lot of stress and little time. The pressure is on, especially when the goal is to convince investors to put their hand in their pocket.
Andrew Fitzpatrick was presenting an Irish TV children’s series project. When asked how much funding he needed, he answered: “A lot of money, but we have done that in the past and I am sure we will do it again, we’ve got plenty of interest in this series… it’s only 4.5 million euros,” he exclaimed with a smile.
German funding executive Michaela Haberlander had this advice for anyone presenting a project: “Keep the presentation short – there is no need to do much talking – give the audience a feel for the project. Of course, the outfit and a funny, punchy presentation helps.”
And what is important for a producer when presenting a new project?
“Not to wee in your pants with nerves,” said Paul Young, producer & CEO of Cartoon Saloon. “Stay calm and be prepared.”
“It’s a discipline to actually be able to pitch a project in the time available and to give the audience all the information they need,” said UK producer, Joan Lofts.
“It’s all about being really creative and showing you’re motivated,” added French animated film director Francis Nielsen.
This year’s event saw a rise in the number of hybrid series, that mix animation with live action.
The Danish production ‘Platy & Pus’ was shot entirely using an iPhone.
And French stop-motion-live action hybrid ‘The Tiniest Man’ got a lot of attention. France was out in force this year with 29 projects, including one based on the popular Oscar-nominated feature film ‘Ernest et Celestine’. With all the government subsidies they get, do the series’ producers really need to find partners to fund their projects?
Didier Brunner – one of the driving forces behind Europe’s animation film industry, who co-produced ‘Ernest et Celestine’ – explained why they do: “Well, it will be quite expensive to make, what we want to produce is a prestigious, high quality series. To do that you need money, which means finding partners in Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia and why not overseas, perhaps in Canada or the United States,” he said of the film spin-off project.
And there is good news for the European animation industry, according to Cartoon Forum’s managing director Marc Vandeweyer.
“Part of the production, which was sub-contracted to Asia for a while, is now coming back to Europe. One reason is that technology has evolved, plus European producers want higher quality. So they’re coming back to Europe to have their films made,” he said.
Producing animation is expensive. Almost half of the European series cost between 5,000 and 10,000 euros per minute to produce.
Since the start of Cartoon Forum, more than 500 TV series have found funding – that is just over one third of the projects presented – representing an overall budget of nearly two billion euros, giving Cartoon Forum a reason to celebrate on its 25th birthday.