A new E.U. Preferential Animation Support Plan was announced this week at the Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, France. The new program zeroes in on the promotion, financing and retaining of talent in Europe and suggests the European Commission’s Cultural and Creative Sectors’ Guarantee Facility will ease access to deficit financing facilities for European animation companies. The current climate finds funding and broadcast network sales decreasing and most banking institutions don’t have the expertise to evaluate the long-term financing plans of animation products.
According to the presentation made by Philippe Alessandri, president of Animation Europe, Cartoon Forum president Christian Davin and chairman of Netherlands’ Animation Producers Association Tom van Waveren, talented European animators must be encouraged to return and open their own studios. While there is still a skills gap in storytelling, this can be addressed by industry-led courses and advanced programs.
The Commission suggested the following action plans in the financing arena:
- Improving access to debt financing by making full use of the Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility.
- Cooperating with equity financiers and supporting dedicated Venture Capital funds focusing on the European creative sectors.
- Looking into the possibility of developing new financial vehicle instruments, combining public and private funding, aimed at pooling resources for large-scale projects and easing cash flow management issues.
- Strengthening links and dialogue between the financial world and the animation industry. This could be done, for instance, by supporting festivals, animation markets, pitching events and national initiatives to use their existing fora to create a better link between studios and financial backers such as banks and venture capital.
- Increasing the European animation presence on digital platforms, which create opportunities for European animation to start small online, and grow big on TV.
- Urging public funds to join forces, for instance to encourage co-productions, exchange good practices and replicate successful national policies. For example, the contribution from broadcasters and other global players to the European production and promotion could be one of the best practices discussed by the Commission with the Member States.
- Adapt MEDIA funding in the future, soas to reward success and proven track record, for instance through a system of bonuses when projects are finished.
The report pointed out that the Euro animation sector has seen an incredible growth both in terms of features and TV series produced. From 1984 to 1998, 76 animated features were produced in Europe, while the number rose to 361 from 1999 to 2013. European animated movies sold over 20 million admissions during the first period, while 220 million were sold in the second period of growth. Song of the Sea, Shaun the Sheep, My Life as a Zucchini, Richard the Stork and Tad the Lost Explorer were among the features responsible for the success of Euro movies. In the TV sector, shows such as Mouk, Peppa Pig, Little Princess, Oggy and the Cockroaches, The Jungle Bunch, Pocoyo and Raving Rabbids were lauded for their success in numerous territories around the world.
Created in 1990, Cartoon Forum is a unique European event which focuses on pitching sessions of pre-selected TV projects where animation producers can find cross-border partners and speed up financial arrangements. It allows co-productions to be finalized, pre-buys agreed, negotiation of distribution agreements, options discussed on every type of right, and licensing of secondary rights. The 28th Edition of the Forum, which ended today (September 14) featured 82 new animation projects from 23 countries, attracting 950 participants from 40 countries – including 250 broadcasters and investors. The spotlight country of 2017 was Poland.
The Forum also presented special awards to a broadcaster, investor/distributor and producer that have had a positive impact on the TV animation industry over the past year. This year’s honorees were:
Broadcaster of the year: France Télévisions (France)
Investor/Distributor of the year: Beta Film (Germany)
Producer of the year: Dandelooo (France)
The Cartoon Tribute of Honor: Patrick Eveno, General Director of Citia and of The Annecy International Animation Film Festival
For more information about the event, visit www.cartoon-media.eu/cartoon-forum/cartoon-forum-2017.htm