Industry Report: Animation
Cartoon Forum 2011
by Dorota Hartwich
22/09/2011 - Over 700 participants from 19 countries, 66 projects representing no fewer than 468 hours of animation for a total production budget of €215,395,000: those are the big figures from the 22nd edition of Cartoon Forum. Every year, this event brings together people from the world of animation (producers, broadcasters and investors) for a gathering that promotes cross-border contacts and a speeding-up of financing on a multitude of projects in development for the TV market and cross media.
The 2011 edition of Cartoon Forum was held in the Polish seaside resort of Sopot from September 13-16, 2011. According to Marc Vandeweyer, managing director of Cartoon - European Association of Animation Film (which organised the Forum), this edition reached "the highest standard of the last five years". This comment was also echoed by the jury for the Golden Cartoon (the competition for the best European animations – see news). The jury members — Stéphane Bernasconi (France), Tony Loeser (Germany) and Victor Maldonado (Spain) — drew attention to the great diversity of the projects, concepts and design reflecting the cultural diversity of works from all four corners of Europe.
As in previous years, France remains the undisputed leader of the event: one project in three was French. The country confirms its dominant presence with 22 domestic projects (33% of the total) and seven co-productions. Also, Great Britain and Spain represented the vitality of the sector in their country with, respectively, 14 (21%) and 11 (17%) productions. Poland, which put forward five productions at the pitching sessions, occupies fourth position, thus outstripping Italy (three), Germany (two) and Ireland (two).
However — this must be underlined — the event is less a competitive arena than a real place for encouraging co-operation. Therefore, 30% of the projects presented were already co-productions between two or more European countries in search of — like the others — further partners.
As for the target audience, projects aimed at children aged between six and nine dominate (33%). One particular feature of this 22nd edition was the growing trend in the number of projects aimed at young adults (from 16 upwards) and adults (6% of the total). "These productions enjoy great success. They attracted more investors which represented on average 50% of the audience in the presentation auditoriums compared to only 15% at previous editions. Moreover, television channels are planning to introduce sets for young adults in their early evening programming ", remarked Vandeweyer. "We were pleased to see that broadcasters were back in force. Teams from Canal+, Channel 5, the BBC (…), they’re attending the Forum in increasing numbers. Their interest is increasingly strong and we’re delighted with this growth", added the managing director.
As every year, the Cartoon Forum also honoured the best distributors, producers and investors, those who have actively contributed to the development of the European animation industry. The 2011 edition of Cartoon Tributes was dominated by Irish professionals. Out of the 12 companies from seven European countries, the Forum participants voted Radio Telefís Éireann (RTÉ, Ireland) as Broadcaster of the Year, Awol Animation (France) was crowned Investor/Distributor of the Year and Monster Animation (Ireland) won the title of Producer of the Year.
Despite the crisis, the animation market continues to boom. The total budget exceeding €215m has increased by 31% compared to that of 2010. The number of productions has also increased (25% more than in 2010). The costs of a production are estimated on average at €7.67 per minute. Among the projects presented, nine are estimated at under €1m, three require a budget close to €7-8m, but the majority (19 projects) represent a production cost of between €1-2m.
A striking feature of this edition was the cross-media character of the projects with no less than 35% devoted to new platforms, like smartphones, tablets, internet and video games.
The dominant animation technique remains 2D (43% of total projects presented), but 3D still makes up 30% of projects spread between 3D CGI, 3D stereoscopic and 3D HD." With the arrival on the market of 3D television sets, the number of projects adapted for this new media is seeing a growth that will certainly explode at the next edition of our forum ", predicts Vandeweyer.
The next forum will be held in the French city of Toulouse, from September 11-14, 2012.