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Cartoon Movie 2010

15 March, 2010 - Vera Vodál
Cartoon Movie 2010

The 12th edition of Cartoon Movie, one of the most important events for the European animation industry, took place in Lyon in March 2010. Cartoon is a co-production forum for the animation industry where producers have the opportunity to present their current projects or find partners, investors and distributors.

630 animators in Lyon

Cartoon Movie is mainly a co-production forum for feature films already in pre-production, but movie idea synopses or completed films ready to release are also presented at the event.
At Cartoon Movie, numerous exciting and professionally organised events take place alongside the presentations, where filmmakers have the opportunity to make informal contact.

Cartoon Movie 2010 took place for the second time in Lyon, the birthplace of the Lumiére Brothers and thus the cradle of cinema. The headquarters of the French animation industry is not far from here either.  La Cartoucherie, a complex in a small town about 100 km from Lyon, gives home to studios like Folimage or TeamTo.


"The headquarters of the French animation industry is not far”
(photo: wera)

Not only animated series and features attend Cartoon Movie. More and more video game making companies present themselves each year. According to Philipp Döschl, producer at  FDG Entertainment GmbH & Co, producers of animated features or series are not automatically thinking about releasing video or mobile games based on their films. There are tendencies however that Cartoon is also trying to emphasize by introducing producers of video games and movies to each other.

At Cartoon Movie, just like in the European animation industry in general, French influence is very strong. Out of the total 51 presented film ideas, 18 are being produced in France. 16 countries represented themselves at the 2010 forum with film ideas and film professionals from 20 countries attended the fair. The sum of the total budget of all projects offered for distribution is nearly EUR 300 Million and the audience will have the chance to watch 68 hours of European animation if these film ideas are all completed. “Audience” here means mainly families – nearly half of all presented film ideas target this group. The question remains: how many parents will fall asleep while watching these movies? Grown-ups are not the number one target audience of animations: only 18% of all projects are targeted to them directly. The breakthrough of 3D technology is obvious: 25 out of the presented 51 film ideas are made using 3D or IMAX 3D technology.

What are we going to watch in the next five years?

The opening event of Cartoon Movie was the screening of Czech animator Jiří Barta’s newest stop motion animation In the Attic: Who Has a Birthday today? The choice for the opening movie was an interesting one: it recalls the golden age of animation, while the key note at the rest of Cartoon was 3D technology.  Barta’s movie is set in an attic, where abandoned toys come to life. They live a happily in an old trunk, but things change when the bad guy kidnaps Teacup, the lady of the house. The movie deploys amazingly creative ideas but grown-ups find it clearly difficult to concentrate, while children will probably be afraid of the scary scenes.  

Israeli director Ari Folman’s  (the man behind the 2008  hit Waltz with Bashir) new film idea The Congress was presented at an entertaining and creative event. It is an adaptation of Stanislav Lem’s novel The Futurological Congress and its main question is, like that of several utopias, that the idols of our age will be replaced by virtual personalities in the near future. The “John Malkovich” of The Congress is Robin Wright Penn, “an actress playing herself” – even her friends and family will appear – who will turn into an animated character at some point in the movie. With a budget of EUR 8 Million, The Congress is supposed to be completed by 2013.

“One of the celebrities of the event: Ari Folman”
(photo: © Valerie de Halleux / CARTOON)

After shooting several feature films, French maestro Patrice Leconte – the “Rolls Royce of directors”, according to his producer –, applied his talents to animation.  The story of his film Le Magasin des Suicides is about a family, owners of “The Suicide Shop”.  They are pessimists, and very successful ones. Everything goes according to plan, until their son Alan is born – he is a happy child and the ultimate optimist, who makes his parents’ customers smile. The movie is supposed to be a very pessimistic piece, although it is a musical: from time to time, the characters burst out in song. Le Magasin des Suicides has a budget of EUR 9 Million, is targeted at the age group 12-112 years and is expected to hit the screens in 2012.

The protagonist of the hilarious Of Hares and Hedgehogs, directed by James Kruess, is a hare brought up by hedgehogs. He wants to be a singer but first he has to come to terms with the realization of being different from his peers and brave the difficulties of his career path. The German opus – probably the funniest of all children’s movies at Cartoon – is the 3D interpretation of a successful earlier animation and is expected to be released at Easter 2013.

“From time to time, the characters burst out in song”
(photo: Le Magasin des Suicides)

Another exciting project is the French/Belgian co-production,  Approved for Adoption, an autobiographical tale of director Jung Henin. The film tells the story of a 5-year-old boy and 200.000 other children who were adopted from Korea. The director decides to travel to South Korea to find his birthplace and search his roots. Documentary footage and live characters will also be included in this animated film.

The animation sketch 11 is based on the short stories of 11 French authors and will be transferred to celluloid by 11 French directors. All 11 stories have something to do with WW1, some in a concrete and some in a more abstract way. The 11 episodes will be made with 11 different techniques, thus creating 11 different visual worlds. According to its French producers, 11 will be a fiction film but with elements of the documentary.

"Metropia - an exciting film ready to hit the screens”
(photo: Metropia)

The audience of Cartoon Movie had the opportunity to watch a few completed movies ready for release. One of these was Yona Yona Penguin, the first Japanese/European animated co-production in history. It tells the story of Yona, a little half-orphan girl who is always running around happily in her penguin costume and is determined to learn to fly. One of her toys comes to life and takes her down to an underground world where she meets goblins who believe that their savior will be a penguin. The world of the movie is slightly confusing – one doesn’t always understand the mission and thus gets a little bored. Screening the movie with Japanese dubbing wasn’t a fortunate choice either.

The most exciting completed film screened at Cartoon was the Swedish Metropia, a dystopia for grown-ups. The romantic sci-fi of newcomer Tarik Saleh recalls Orwell’s 1984. The story is set in the near future, at a time when Europe can be crossed by underground and the equivalent of nuclear weapons is a seemingly simple shampoo that modifies the brain when used. Metropia – not unlike many other debut films – is slightly crowded with too many genres, directions and different messages, but creates a unique and strong atmosphere. It will hopefully return to the screens at Anilogue  or at the programme of Kino.

Hungarians in the Mecca of Animation

Nearly all European nations attended Cartoon Movie. Hungary’s distribution industry was represented by Gábor Csurdi from Budapest Film. Other names were also listed in the catalogue under Hungary, most of which were unfamiliar to me – later I found out why.

Kim Temmermann is a Belgian lawyer living in Hungary. He hasn’t been in the animation industry for long – his company, Freeway Entertainment 2001 is specialized in international copyright trading and distribution. A few years ago they started a new practice called „collection account management”. This means the independent monitoring and supervising of the finances and legal contracts of international co-productions. “Animation is a new area for us. I am here to find out who the big production companies are, who participates in big international co-productions, who could possibly be interested in using our services ” – says Kim. “As a lawyer, I usually spend my time behind my desk, so coming here has been very exciting. Cartoon Movie is a very well organised event and offers plenty of opportunity to meet possible partners.”

Weith Katalin with Kim Timmermann
(photo: wera)

Katalin Weith is a corporate consultant and manager who has a lot of experience in the business sector. She is here to familiarize herself with the animation industry – her long-term business plan is to found an animation studio in Hungary with her business partners. They would like to produce environmental animation projects and series mainly for children, in order to improve their environmental education. “We have started negotiations with a French producer about a possible future project” – says Katalin Weith, who would like to set up her animation studio in the next few months.

Animators to Sopron!

Cartoon’s next event, Cartoon Connection, will be held at the end of March in South Korea with the attendance of 60 Korean and 40 European film professionals. Its goal is to develop closer cooperation between European and Korean filmmakers and investors.

“the Hungarian animation industry presents itself in Europe”
(photo: © Valerie de Halleux / CARTOON)


Cartoon Forum, Cartoon’s co-production forum focusing on television and new platforms has helped producers and distributors in getting in touch since 1990. Its next event, Magyar Cartoon Forum will be held in Sopron (Hungary), September 14-17, 2010. At Magyar Cartoon Forum, the Hungarian animation industry will have the opportunity to present itself in front of major European broadcasters and investors. The deadline for applications is 28th April, visitors can register by 31th June.