REPORT: Cartoon Forum 2021
- We present a rundown of the most interesting projects introduced at this year’s Cartoon Forum, which ran in Toulouse from 21-23 September
Cartoon Forum is finally back in a physical format. This year, the prestigious pitching and co-production forum for animated TV projects unspooled in Toulouse from 21-23 September. For three days, European producers had the opportunity to pitch their projects in front of 1,000 broadcasters, investors and other potential partners from 40 countries. Since its inception in 1990, 873 series have found financing, accounting for a total budget of €3.1 billion.
Here, we present an overview of some of the most interesting projects presented during this year’s gathering:
Tales of Terror – Kealan O’Rourke (Ireland/UK)
This 10x11-minute project follows Edgar, an 11-year-old who longs for an escape from his mundane world. His enigmatic Uncle Montague lives nearby in a Victorian mansion crammed with the most curious of items. There is nothing Edgar loves more than to listen to his uncle recount some of the frightening stories he knows. With each episode, Edgar is treated to a new story, but as each tale unfolds, an eerie pattern starts to emerge. The project is being produced by Ireland’s Dream Logic and co-produced by the UK’s Lupus Films.
Tommy Pepper – Domien Huyghe (Belgium/Luxembourg)
The team behind this 13x22-minute series showed up on stage dressed as chefs in order to present their project. It follows young Tommy Pepper, who is struggling to become a Master Mingler. When he discovers that his mother may have been captured by the fearsome Gulzar, he flies a Mixocopter back to his home country, the magical island of Papilonia. The series has already secured 45% of its budget thanks to the VAF, Ketnet, MEDIA’s European slate funding programme and the Belgian Tax Shelter. Budgeted at €4.5 million and set to be delivered in 2024, it is being produced by Lunanime and co-produced by Melusine Productions.
Space Ham – Nicolai Vielwerth (Denmark/France)
Described as a “post-apocalyptic comedy”, Space Ham centres on two young pigs who guard a space station on an asteroid far away. They are best friends, skilled in their professions as an engineer and a botanist, but useless at reliably handling their positions of trust, as their attitude of “trying to be adults” just causes chaos. The team reported that they are currently in talks with the BBC. The 52x9-minute 2D and 3D show, budgeted at €8.5 million and set for delivery in 2023, is being staged by MiniCosmos and Dandelooo.
Adventures of a Creative Family – directors TBC (Italy/Ireland)
The story of this 26x11-minute project offers a series of comedy adventures about the Panebarcos, a highly eccentric Italian family who run a truly off-the-wall creative agency. We focus on young Nora, who dreams of working as an intern for the family firm, led by the girl’s mother, Mary Bla-Bla. According to the series’ creative team, it will tackle “themes such as loneliness, bullying, inadequacy and other fish-out-of-water problems”. Executive-produced by Steve Walsh, the show is being staged by Panebarco, co-produced by Telegael and co-financed by the Emilia-Romagna Film Commission.
Under the School – Max Maléo (France)
The 26x22-minute project, budgeted at €8.5 million, is set to enter production in Q2 of 2022 and to be delivered in Q4 of 2023. The series takes place in St Joseph’s, a school known for welcoming “underperforming” children into its ranks. In its basement, the institute houses an entire reconditioning system capable of transforming any pupil into the best student in the class. During the pitching session, the team presented an animatic teaser. Under the School is a co-production between Ellipsanime Productions and Timpel Pictures.
Dino Fables – director(s) TBC (Czech Republic/Serbia/Romania)
Produced by Prague-based Krutart and co-produced by Serbia’s To Blink Animation and Romania’s Domestic Film, this 26x7-minute series for preschoolers focuses on “social-emotional learning”, tackling themes such as “why grandparents are so slow”, “being different”, “not feeling brave enough” and “fear of the dark”. The project, backed by the Czech Film Fund and commissioned by Czech Television, is set to be distributed by French outfit Dandelooo. In it, we will see father Megatherium telling his lively triplets stories about dinosaurs to calm them down.
Hygge – Rikke Planeta and Philip Piaget (Germany/Denmark)
In Rumble Village, Bea, Diego and Bo will explore the marvellous forest, encounter many unknown and magical creatures, and learn how to use Hygge to overcome the many unexpected obstacles they meet along the way. Hygge is a “feeling of safety, comfort, harmony, peace and togetherness”. In this 52x11-minute series, children will come to understand how to “get through tough experiences, learn to cope, and become more resilient and optimistic”. Hygge is set to become a 360-degree IP, with more seasons and a feature film already planned. It will enter production by the end of 2022. The project is a co-production by Dreamin’ Dolphin Film, Ouros and Parka Pictures.
VHS Gang – Jose Fernandez de Vega (Spain)
Produced by GLOW, the 26x8-minute series is set in the 1990s and follows three siblings who have countless adventures, where reality blends in with fictional worlds from classic fantasy and horror films. Commissioned by RTVE and other regional channels, it is budgeted at €2.5 million. The IP will include the publication of a comic book and a video game.
Butterfly Academy – Sophie Roy (Germany/Canada)
After their hit Butterfly Tale, Ulysses Filmproduktion and CarpeDiem joined forces to present a 52x11-minute spin-off series, set in a school where young monarchs learn to become the best butterflies they can be. It focuses on Patrick, an over-optimistic, one-winged monarch; Marty, a goofy caterpillar; Lily, the empathic drama queen; and Jennifer, the brains of this foursome. Pink Parrot is in charge of its distribution.
Anselmo Wannabe – Massimo Ottoni (Italy)
Created by Massimo Ottoni and produced by Federico Turani for Ibrido, this 26x7-minute series (budgeted at around €1.2 million and targeted at children aged between six and nine) centres on the titular child who starts to imagine himself involved in the most common or the most absurd professions. Ottoni and Turani said that Anselmo Wannabe will help children to understand that there are no “humble or unpleasant professions” and “no male or female jobs in a world still oppressed by gender inequality”. RAI Ragazzi and Porto-based AIM Creative Studios have already expressed an interest in the project. The team plans to expand it by making it a transmedia project as well as through merchandising, including the creation of a wiki where children can learn more about the different jobs.
You can find the full list of selected projects here.
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