ALICE launched in Barcelona to champion European-made animation
- The first meeting for this new project for European interregional cinematic cooperation, which seeks to promote companies in the animation sector, took place last week
On Friday 17 January, a European project for interregional cooperation called ALICE (Animation League for Increased Cooperation in Europe) was introduced in Barcelona. The main objective of this initiative is to boost the growth of small and medium-sized companies dedicated to the cinematic genre of animation. The programme officially began on 1 August 2019, and 75% of its financing comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Catalonia’s PROA (Federation of Audiovisual Producers) was in charge of promoting this initial meeting of the initiative in Barcelona. Also involved in ALICE are public and private institutions and organisations in Wallonia (Belgium), for example Wallimage; Haut-de-France and Pictanovo (France); the Apulia Regional Government (Italy); the Slovak Ministry of Culture; and the Rzeszow Regional Development Agency (Poland).
“ALICE seeks to increase the visibility of Catalan animation in Europe, bring together the sector’s key representatives, serve as a space for dialogue in order to look for solutions and contribute to enabling cooperation between European regions,” explained Mar Sáez, head of international relations at PROA and Catalonia project manager, during the function, which was held at the SGAE’s (Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers) Barcelona headquarters. The event also included the first of the working groups held in Catalonia on “Funding and Legal Regulations”, one of the areas of research around which the project is structured, where producers, representatives of Catalan public television and members of the Catalan Institute of Cultural Businesses came together to begin to work on proposals that will bolster the animation industry in the region and will encourage cooperation on the Continent.
Access to funding is the main obstacle encountered by SMEs working in the sector, a field in which Catalonia “has always been a trailblazer within Spain”, stated Iván Agenjo, president of ProAnimats (Professional Association of Animation Producers) and vice-president of Animation at PROA. “This is especially true in the production of series: the abundance of exhibition platforms and the heavily fragmented consumption patterns mean that funding is becoming more complicated because you have to make a greater number of players agree on things in order to get the works off the ground,” he explained.
The ALICE project’s objectives are to facilitate the funding process for productions, as well as to improve training and retain talent: a large proportion of the animations that are made in Catalonia are co-productions. “Going off to look for partners abroad is essential,” asserted Agenjo: “The lack of economic resources and the absence of an industry have resulted in a sector that, despite possessing capabilities and renowned creators, has been unable to maintain its grasp on creativity. We have renowned names working on foreign productions because we don’t have a big enough industry to absorb all of our professionals.”
The producer believes that ALICE will build a solid foundation to “strengthen the sector and foster the growth” of a sustainable industrial ecosystem, which will support European co-productions with propositions that are in line with the Animation Plan for Europe, published by the European Commission, and with the requests of Animation Europe, the federation of European animation producers. At this initial session, “We talked to two of the representatives on the country level who are able to influence these decisions, and we agreed to carry out an in-depth analysis of the sector and contribute various measures,” noted Agenjo. “One of the aspects we need to address is bringing the regulations into line so that they will be compatible with the rest of the European partners. The first step is to do an in-depth study of the sector in order to think about where we want to go with this and analyse the potential problems that may arise.” He also encouraged the businesses and professionals in attendance to take part and to determine which solutions may be required.
(Translated from Spanish)
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