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Cartoon 2022 - Cartoon Next

Industry Report: Animation

REPORT: Cartoon Next 2022

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We present details of three intriguing projects that were pitched at the inaugural edition of Cartoon Next, which ran in Marseille from 12-15 April

REPORT: Cartoon Next 2022
Paloma Mora pitching Sex Symbols during the event

The inaugural edition of Cartoon Next (12-15 April) unspooled in Marseille, Provence from 12-15 April. The event saw the participation of 250 attendees from 21 countries as well as 33 speakers and experts. Here, we present three interesting projects pitched at Cartoon Next – all of them very well received by the industry representatives attending the gathering.

Astrid and the School of Astronauts – Federica Carbone and Anita Verona (Italy)

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(© Lumiar)

Co-directed by Federica Carbone and Anita Verona, and presented on stage by the former (also serving as the producer for Italy’s Lumiar), this 52x7 series targeted at pre-schoolers centres on seven-year-old Albino girl Astrid, who is attending a school for astronauts where she learns about friendship, self-esteem and physics. The production team describes it as “an edutainment production” promoting female empowerment as well as the knowledge of STEM disciplines among young girls.

“Being selected for the second time by a Cartoon event, it’s been a great opportunity to bring Astrid and the School of Astronauts to the next level. The feedback and support we received has been essential, since we’re a young team pitching a socially valuable project,” Carbone told Cineuropa. 

The series is also benefiting from a partnership with the European Space Agency. “We have been consulting with the agency since the early stages of our project. They provided us with some guidelines to make Astrid and the School of Astronauts aligned with their policies — for example, no weapons on screen. Thanks to their experts specialised in children’s popular science, we have carefully chosen the scientific themes to cover in each episode,” Carbone added.

Sex Symbols – Paloma Mora (Spain)

Produced and directed by Paloma Mora for TV ON, this edutainment comedy series aimed at children aged 8-13 and their parents, is a visually colourful show about sexuality and affectivity. 

In detail, we focus on Carla, Mia, Max and Hugo, who are about to become teenagers and try to answer their first questions about their bodies. Mora disclosed that the first 13x7 season has been finalised in January, whilst the second one (boasting the same format) will enter post-production by September. 

Based on a study titled “(Un)informed Sexually: Pornography and Adolescence” published by Save the Children (also supporting the making of the series), the show has been made in co-operation with medical specialists and covers topics such as erection, sexual orientation, transgenderism, pregnancy, cyberbulling and sexually transmissible infections. Admirable Films serves as the project’s co-producer. It received support from the Institut Valencià de Cultura, À Punt Media TV, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund as well as the Belgian pubcasters RTBF and VRT. Mondo TV is in charge of its distribution in Latin America.

Subtopia – Cesare Asaro (Austria)

Currently in development, Subtopia presents a highly innovative concept for a young adult-oriented multi-season TV series, combining 3D animation with limited elements of live action. It is being developed by Tightrope Films, an independent filmmaking cooperative, with Curio&Co, a Vienna-based studio. 

Created by Cesare Asaro, Artur Golczewski, Lucas Vossoughi and Kirstie Shepherd, the show is set in a dystopian world of absolute governmental control and surveillance. However, it plays out in the lush, green and cutesy environment of an open-world platform game. While designed for children, this platform has developed into humanity’s last place of free expression — but also of dangerous and illegal excess. A ragtag team of four main characters and a roster of recurring supporting characters explore this world, marvel at its wonders and recoil from its man-made horrors.

Subtopia utilises the juxtaposition of colourful 3D-rendered surroundings and overwhelmingly friendly-looking characters — with the sinister and adult themes of social isolation, internet security and fraud, distrust and the dangers of losing yourself behind digital avatars. An ambitious project, its budget is estimated at €1.5 million per episode, with around 10 episodes of 40 minutes per season. 

“With Subtopia’s wide potential for multi-platform development, Cartoon Next was a great fit for the project, and came at just the right time,” Shepherd told Cineuropa. “Getting expert feedback early, while the project is still in the concept phase, is a big help to point us in the right direction and give the project the best foundation for further development.”

Check out Subtopia’s first poster below (© Cesare Asaro/Kirstie Shepherd/Artur Golczewski/Lucas Vossoughi):

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