Capping Cartoon Forum

The largest ever Cartoon Forum drew to a close in North Wales this past weekend with the annual Cartoon D’Or award being presented to British animator Robert Bradbrook for his film Home Road Movies. The short also picked up the special jury prize earlier this year at the Annecy Festival.

At the heart of the Cartoon Forum concept are the pitching sessions for new projects — 80 of them this year — which give producers an opportunity to simultaneously introduce new projects to broadcasters and financiers from all over Europe. The concept was first introduced by the European Union’s Media program in 1990 in an effort to counteract the diversity of the European market and reduce the time taken to finance new animation series.

Cartoon Forum has taken place, in various European locations, every year since then and has played a major part in the development of the European industry. Over that period, some 35 to 40% of all projects presented have gone into production. Joint Forum Managing Director Corinne Jenart says that preschool projects continue to be the most popular with investors. At the other extreme, youth and adult animation series are still finding it difficult to find slots with European broadcasters.

The star performer once again this year was Collingwood O’Hare Entertainment. Last year, Yoko! Jakomoto! Toto! was picked up by ITV before the show even began. This year the British studio got a deal with the BBC for Gordon Gnome. This 52×10 preschool series about a garden gnome and his animal friends looks set to become yet another hit.

The biggest attendance was for Ugly Duckling Junior from Denmark’s A Film and Magma Films of Ireland. The proposal here is for a CG feature film packaged together with a 26×30 series. The two studios were also partners on If I were A Grown Up, a charming proposal for a 26×13 preschool series.

Other likely contenders in the preschool market were Mr Moon, from Two Sides TV and Skaramoosh in the U.K.; Frank and Frida, from Norwegian studio Produksjonsselskapet Microfilm; Funky Valley, from British studio Honeycomb Animation; and Tucker, from TV-Loonland in Germany. Loonland’s London studio, Telemagination, was also presenting its proposal for a 26×11 series, WereKids, aimed at kids 6-11.

Animatrix is aiming to bring back an existing classic from 20 years ago. The original 13×26 series Doctor Snuggles was previously a success in territories all around the world. Now the plan is to update it for today’s market in a 26×13 package.

Entertainment Rights presented Candy Bird, a 26×10 show about a young girl’s desire for a pet, aimed at kids 5-8. The company’s Welsh studio, Siriol, was also presenting Tiff, a series in the same format and age range, about a girl who turns into a monster when she gets angry.

Former Channel 4 commissioning editors Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding have set up Lupus Films with a Christmas special for the channel called Little Wolf’s Book of Badness. They were aiming to expand the franchise at Cartoon Forum with a proposal for a 52×11 series based on the same character entitled Little Wolf’s Adventure Academy.

Elephant Productions had its own Christmas special offered together with Illuminated Film Company, in the shape of www.fatherchristmas.com. Based on Jamie Rix’s story, the special explores what happens when Santa’s adopted son decides to turn dad’s business into a modern and profitable corporation.