A total of 55 feature film projects from 16 European countries will be pitched at Cartoon Movie 2021, the European Union’s largest and most prestigious feature film market, which will take place online from 9 to 11 March. The event aims to give a boost to their production and distribution both within and outside European borders. Although a few years ago the project from the Czech Republic at Cartoon Forum was an absolute exception, this year the Czech animation boasts two projects.
“This fact is a manifestation of the growing quality of domestic production in the area, which was a weakness of Czech production in feature films,” states Michal Podhradský from the Association of Czech Animation.
Czech animation is represented by Jiří Barta with the 80-minute film Golem, aimed at young and adult viewers. The story takes place in communist Prague in the 1950s, where a young student tries to find the famous Golem and bring him back to life. The film is produced by Hausboot.
The second film with Czech participation is the Slovak film Heart Of A Tower by director Peter Budinský. A fantasy story for children tells the adventures of 10-year-old Riki, who escapes from the house behind a mysterious signal emitted by a shining stone and who takes him to the incredible world of “Yourland”. The project is produced by BFILM (SK) in co-production with BFILM.cz (Czech Republic), plutoon (SK), Stacka (BE) and RTVS (SK).
In addition to presenting their projects in recorded video pitches, producers will have the opportunity to network with a select group of buyers, investors, and potential new partners interested in European animation.
With the challenge of providing this virtual edition with the human quality and hallmarks that have turned Cartoon Movie into one of the main motors behind European animation, the 23rd edition of this meeting for professionals will serve as a showcase for projects in concept (22), in development (22), and in production (8). A sneak preview of three films already completed and ready for distribution will also be presented.
The projects were selected from 96 submissions and, together, represent 76 hours of animation and 297 million euros in budget. France leads the list of countries with 40% of the projects (21), followed by Spain, whose 9 projects confirm the good moment this country’s animation is going through. Denmark, Germany, Romania, and Italy participate with three projects each. The line-up also includes films from Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia, Hungary, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Slovakia, and Sweden. A quarter of the projects have two or more European countries on board, with France, Belgium and Luxembourg as the most active co-producers in the region.
Regarding production, the average cost of the projects amounts to 5.4 million euros, 22% less than in the previous edition. 3D animation projects have plummeted by 40% compared to 2020. As a result of this significant decrease, 2D has become the predominant animation technique (23 projects), followed by the one which combines 2D and 3D.
A DIVERSE SELECTION
Projects aimed at family audiences are still predominant and make up half of the selection (29), while animation for the Young adults/Adults segment continues to grow with respect to previous editions (15). The selection also includes projects for children, pre-schoolers and teenagers. The selection features a variety of genres ranging from comedy to adventure, dramas, horror, science fiction, documentaries and coming of age stories, among others.
Four of the projects selected in the production stage have already participated in Cartoon Movie in the concept or development stage: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”, a French production inspired in Japanese poet Haruki Murakami imaginary universe; Portugal’s 2D-stop motion hybrid “My Grandfather’s Demons”, which reflects on loneliness and the rhythm of contemporary life; “Red Jungle”, an animated documentary about the guerrilla in Colombia; and Hungary’s “White Plastic Sky”, a film aimed at Young adults/Adults set in a dystopian future. Three films will be presented as Sneak preview, a category reserved for completed films to be released this year: Norway’s “Christmas at Cattlehill”, a 3D Christmas movie directed by Will Ashurst; the animated documentary “Flee”, a co-production between Denmark, France, Sweden and Norway directed by Jonas Poher premiered in competition at Cannes Film Festival 2020 and selected for Sundance Film Festival 2021, and “The Island”, an animated musical by Romanian director Anca Damian (“The Fantastic Voyage of Marona“), who develops a poetic approach to the drama of Africa and Arabic countries migrants in Europe.
CEE countries reinforce their presence with 6 projects, half of which are from Romania; while Georgia’s “Igi” was selected as part of the agreement between CARTOON and CEE Animation to promote Central and Eastern European animation.
In spite of going online, Cartoon Movie will maintain some of its parallel activities such as Cartoon Games and Transmedia, a meeting that seeks to promote synergies between the animation, video games & transmedia industries; Coaching Programme, which will give 90 animation students and teachers from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region the opportunity to learn first-hand about the industry and Cartoon Movie’s dynamics; and the Eurimages Coproduction Development Award, a 20,000 euros cash prize created to promote this Fund’s role in encouraging international co-production from the initial stages of a project. About Cartoon Movie Since 1999, 396 films have been financially supported by Cartoon Movie with a total budget of 2.61 billion euros. Cartoon Movie is an annual forum aimed at strengthening the production and distribution of animated feature films in Europe organised by CARTOON with the support of Creative Europe – MEDIA, CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée), Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Bordeaux Metropole, Invest Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the City of Bordeaux and le Pôle Image Magelis.