Cartoon Movie Top 20: The Next Big Euro Animation Wave

The Animals’ Christmas
The Animals’ Christmas

Last week, over 900 international animation producers, directors, distributors, sales agents from 41 different countries gathered in Bordeaux for the 20th edition of the annual Cartoon Movie confab. On display were pitches for 60 animated projects in various stages of development and production. Many of these innovative film may easily restore everyone’s faith in the future of animation as a beautiful medium to tell all types of stories for many different audiences. Because some of the sessions happened simultaneously, it was impossible to catch every presentation at the event, but here are 20 interesting projects that are definitely worth keeping an eye on in the next few years (in alphabetical order):

The Animals’ Christmas
In this charming one-hour anthology, five female directors from different parts of the world offer beautiful 2D tales featuring various animals, Santa Claus and Christmas. Directed by Olesya Shchukina, Camille Almeras, Caroline Attia, Ceylan Beyoglu and Haruna Kisih.  Produced by Les Valseurs (France). [In development]

The Animals’ Christmas

The Animals’ Christmas

Another Day of the Life
In 1975, Polish journalist Kapuscinski convinces his boss to send him to Angola, where bloody civil war has erupted. Angola will change him forever:
it was a reporter that left Poland, but it was a writer that returned. Directed by Raul de la Fuente and Damian Nenow. Produced by Platige Image (Poland), Kanaki Films (Spain), Walking the Dog (Belgium), Wuest Film (Germany), Animationfabrik (Germany), Puppetworks (Hungary).  [Will be released in UK, sales agent Indie Sales]

Another Day in the Life

Another Day of Life

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily
Directed by Lorenzo Mattotti (Fear(s) of the Dark) adapts a stunning graphic novel by Dino Buzzati, which tells the tale of the conflict that arises when the son of the King of the bears is kidnapped by hunters in the Sicilian mountains.  Produced by Prima Linea Productions (France), Indigo Films (Italy), France 3 Cinema (France). [In development]

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles
Salvador Simó directs this beautiful 2D take on a chapter in the famous Spanish director’s life based on a popular graphic novel. Set in the early ‘30s, it follows Buñuel and his sculptor friend Ramón Acín’s trip to the poorest areas in Spain, Las Hurdes, where he found himself as a true artist. Produced by The Glow Animation Studio (Spain) and Submarine (Netherlands). [In production]

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen
Reminiscent of James and the Giant Peach, this stop-motion adventure is based on a book by director Kaspar Jancis about a young boy who is magically shrunk when he stays with evil taskmaster Aunt Anna. The bug characters he meets on his toy boat are strange variations of the adults in his old life. Voice cast includes Brendan Gleeson and Ciaran Hinds. Produced by Nukufilm (Estonia), Telegael (Ireland), Mark Mertens (Belgium) and Calon (UK). [Will be released in Estonia in August]

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen

Chris the Swiss
Director Anja Kofmel investigates the death of her cousin, who was a journalist covering the war in Croatia during the 1990s. This thought-provoking, personal documentary mixes black-and-white animation and live-action interviews with those who knew the subject. Produced by MADA.DE Filmproduktion (Germany), Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduction (Switzerland) and Nukleus Films (Croatia). [Ready for distribution]

Chris the Swiss

Chris the Swiss

Diplodocus
Inspired by classic 1980s comic books by cult Polish author Tadeusz Baranowski, this 3D, CGI adventure centers on a little dinosaur, who sets out to find his missing parents, but discovers that he actually lives inside a comic book. The project is the second animated film by Wojtek Wawszczyk (George the Hedgehog), who wrote the script with Mark Palmer (The Penguins of MadagascarKim Possible). The film will also include about 10% live-action footage, for which the studio hopes to attract a popular Hollywood star. Produced by Human Ark (Poland) [In development]

Diplodocus

Diplodocus

Dragonkeeper
In ancient China, a young slave girl helps save a dragon from captivity, and begins a journey to save all the magical creatures from the evil Emperor and his men. Based on a trilogy by Carole Wilkinson, this visually stunning CG-animated movie looks quite original. Ignacio Ferreras and Jian-Ping Li co-direct the movie, with Manuel Cristóbal (Wrinkles) producing.  Produced by Dragoia Media (Spain). [In development]

Dragonkeeper

Dragonkeeper

Folio D’Alba
Five fantastical creatures search for a mythical place beyond their own world where everyone lives in harmony without any prejudices. This meticulously designed epic fantasy, based on Pierre Bordage’s graphic novel is directed by brothers Frédéric and Samuel Guillaume and employs a clever mix of photorealistic backgrounds and CG characters. Produced by Nexus Factory (Belgium), Film & Video Production (Switzerland). [In development]

Folio D’Alba

Folio D’Alba

A Greyhound of a Girl
Acclaimed Italian director Enzo d’Alo (Pinocchio) lends his special touch to this adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s tale about a young Irish girl with a special talent for cooking and her different relationships with her mother and grandmother. Produced by Paul Thiltges Distributions (Luxembourg), The Illuminated Co. (U.K.), Aliante (Italy). [In development]

A Greyhound of a Girl

A Greyhound of a Girl

Hoodoo
A young African-American girl search for the truth about her bluesman grandfather, who was said to have made a deal with the Devil to become a musician in this beautifully imagined coming of age story, written and directed by Fabrice Ziolkowski (writer, The Secret of Kells). Blues icons Keb Mo and Taj Mahal will provide music and voices as well. Produced by Mozaic Productions (France), Letko (Poland). [In development]

Hoodoo

Hoodoo

In the Dark and Mysterious Forest
Popular French comic-book artist/director Vincent Paronnaud (Persepolis) and Alexis Ducord are working on a quirky and cleverly designed adaptation of Paronnaud’s (a.k.a. Winshluss) graphic novel. The story centers on a young boy who is accidentally left behind by his parents at a rest stop and has to find his way through a mysterious forest full of bizarre creatures to be reunited with them. Produced by Je Suis Bien Content (France). [In development]

In the Dark and Mysterious Forest

In the Dark and Mysterious Forest

Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs
When a young boy is sent to the suburbs to spend a summer with his uncle and cousin, he joins forces with the neighborhood talking dogs to fight the evil city builder the rich Lord Pie. Directed by Edmunds Jansons based on the book by Luīze Pastore. The digital cut-out animation is perfect for younger audiences.  Produced by Atom Art (Latvia), Letko (Poland). Sales Agent: New Europe Film Sale. [In production]

Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs

Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs

Kara
A young Turkish girl comes of age and understands certain truths about her life in this poetic 3-D stereoscopic stop-motion film directed by Sinem Sakaoglu. Winner of Cartoon Movie’s Euroimages Co-Production Award. Produced by Visual Distractions (Germany) and Beast Animation (Belgium). [In development]

Kara

Kara

Luis and the Aliens
The 12-year-old hero of the movie realizes that his UFO-obsessed dad was right when three goofy aliens enter his life. Things get more complicated when the school principal plans to send Luis to a children’s home. The comic sensibility and stereoscopic CG animation echoes American studio movies. Directed by Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein and Sean McCormack. Produced by Ulysses Filmproduktion (Germany), Fabrique d’Images (Luxembourg), A.Film Production (Denmark). Sales Agent: Global Screen. [Premieres at the Stuttgart Animation Festival in April]

Luis and the Aliens

Luis and the Aliens

Mavka: The Forest Song
When the beautiful spirit of the forest Mavka falls in love with a handsome human musician, their union faces numerous challenges in this lush, stunning adaptation of Lesia Ukrainka’s successful graphic novels, inspired by Eastern European folklore. Oleksandra Ruban directs the studio’s most ambitious project to date, which includes extensive multimedia, licensing and spin-off plans. Produced by Animagrad Studio (Ukraine). [In development]

Mavka: The Forest Song

Mavka: The Forest Song

Slocum
A lovely, yet haunting slice-of-life memory film about a young boy’s relationship with his father, a man who always dreamt about traveling the seas on his boat—which never left land. Directed by prolific French auteur Jean-François Laguionie (Le Tableau). Produced by JPL Films (France). [In development]

Slocum

Slocum

The Neighbors of My Neighbors Are Neighbors of Mine
It’s easy to fall under the spell of this highly original film, which tells 10 stories about the lives of the habitants of one building. Among the players: A magician who actually saws off his assistant’s legs, an over-equipped hiker who gets stuck in an elevator for days, and an ogre who breaks his teeth on an important day. Written and directed by Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand. Produced by Lardux Films (France). [In development]

The Neighbors of My Neighbors Are Neighbors of Mine

The Neighbors of My Neighbors Are Neighbors of Mine

Terra Willy
After his spaceship is destroyed, a young boy is stranded on an alien planet with Buck, his protective robot, and Flash, a cute alien creature that grows into a much bigger beast. Eric Tosti directs this great-looking sci-fi adventure with a great sense of timing and humor. Produced by TAT Productions (France), BAC Films (France). [In development]

Terra Willy

Terra Willy

Unicorn Wars
From the twisted and fascinating imagination of Spanish comic-book and animation star Alberto Vazquez (Birdboy, Decorado) comes another bizarre epic about the war between teddy bears and unicorns, and the role of the new religion’s sacred book in flaming the fires between the two worlds. Produced by Autour de Minuit (France), UniKo (Spain), Schmuby Productions (France), Albano Productions (Spain). [In development]

Unicorn Wars

Unicorn Wars