The 25th edition of Cartoon Movie was full of surprises and brimming with feeling, as attendees flocked enthusiastically to pitch sessions for the latest creative and compelling animated features from across Europe. Many of these stories represent contemporary concerns and social movements for both family and adult audiences.
This year’s program in Bordeaux presented 58 projects from 16 countries, with a total budget of 422.4 million euro, representing 81 hours of animation. The countries who brought the most projects are France (25 projects), Germany (eight), Spain and Italy (five), Belgium with (three), Denmark (two) and Armenia, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine with one project each.
The event welcomes 876 participants from 40 countries, including 282 registered buyers from 35 nations (18% new to the show). Organizers of Cartoon Movie revealed the In Development and In Production projects that received the most attention with the highest number of buyers attending the pitch:
Top 10 Overall
1. Back to Tomioka (France)
2. Julián (Ireland / Denmark / France / Canada / United Kingdom)
3. Ninn (France)
3. Yap Yap – The Secret Forest (Denmark / Sweden)
4. Merry Christmas Monsieur Hulot (France)
4. Moses the Pirate (Germany)
5. The Hermit and the Bear (France)
6. Fox and Hare Save the Forest (Netherlands / Luxembourg / Belgium)
7. I’m Still Alive (Italy / Israel / Belgium)
8. The Horn Quartet Goes to Bollywood (France / Belgium)
9. Birds Don’t Look Back (France / Luxembourg / Poland)
10. The Precious Gift (Czech Republic / France)
10. Clarissa (Germany)
Top 10 European Co-Productions
1. Julián (Ireland / Denmark / France / Canada / United Kingdom)
2. Birds Don’t Look Back (France / Luxembourg / Poland)
3. Fox and Hare Save the Forest (Netherlands / Luxembourg / Belgium)
4. Love Is a Gypsy Child – A Carmen Story (France / Spain / France)
5. Yap Yap – The Secret Forest (Denmark / Sweden)
6. Beausoleil (France / Luxembourg)
7. I’m Still Alive (Italy / Israel / Belgium)
8. The Precious Gift (Czech Republic / France)
9. The Horn Quartet Goes to Bollywood (France / Belgium)
10. Yakari 2 (France / Belgium)
Read more about some of these projects in our Cartoon Movie Sampler.
Topics & Trends
A number of key trends and special spotlights kept this landmark edition of Cartoon Movie fresh.
The concern for climate change was reflected in many projects: 16% of the selected projects address a topic related to ecology, for example in Forest, Back to Tomioka, Four Souls of Coyote and Yap Yap – The Secret Forest.
This year, 21% of the projects approach the question of the kind of society we live in, and what we want for the future, tackling themes of inclusion, diversity, migration, political issues, gender and more. Such projects included Julián, The Legend of Magnus the Good, I’m Still Alive and Zako.
The importance of inspiring children and young adults with heroic women and girls on screen also remains relevant, with 17% of projects opting for a girl-powered story in projects like The Legend of Lune, Clarissa, Fiammetta and Rosa and the Stone Troll.
Each year, Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, the Pôle Image Magelis and Bordeaux Metropole escort a cadre of animation creators and producers at the pitch events. For 2023, seven projects are supported by the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region: Beausoleil, Jim Queen, Chicken for Linda!, Happy End, Mars Express, The Hermit and the Bear and Alpha Two’s Dreamed Journey. Beausoleil and Mars Express are also supported by the Département Charente. Bordeaux Metropole and the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region are also represented by projects from their animation studios: Betty’s Dream, Long Time a Girl: An Endless City Adventure and The Hermit and the Bear.
A full day of master classes was organized during the Coaching Program, dedicated to young talents from nine French local schools. Two projects pitched at Cartoon Springboard — Cartoon Movie’s sibling event in Madrid dedicated to young talents and graduates — were pitched at Cartoon Movie: Otis and The Precious Gift.
A delegation of 23 Ukrainian animation professionals was able to join Cartoon Movie, presenting many examples of the movies, shorts and TV series produced by Ukrainian companies. At the beginning of March, Mavka. The Forest Song — first shown at Cartoon Movie in 2017 — was released in Ukraine with great success and has already sold to 80 countries. This week, Animagrad (FILM.UA Group), the studio behind this hit, pitched its latest CG-animated feature, Roxelana.
Voted by their fellow European animation professionals attending Cartoon Movie, the winners for the Cartoon Tributes were announced Thursday at a special ceremony. The trophies of the 22nd edition went to individuals and companies from France and Netherlands, and to a co-production feature film involving studios from France, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal and Belgium.
No Dogs or Italians Allowed earned the Producer of the Year prize for France’s Les Films du Tambour de Soie, Vivement Lundi ! and Foliascope, Italy’s Graffiti Film, Switzerland’s Nadasdy Film, Portugal’s Ocidental Filmes and Belgium’s Lux Fugit Film. Directed by Alain Ughetto (Jasmine), this stop-motion film won both the Jury Prize at Annecy and the European Film Award for Best European Animated Film in 2022.
Dutch filmmaker and illustrator Mascha Halberstad was recognized as Director of the Year for her debut feature film, Oink, which premiered at the 2022 Berlinale as Opening Film of the Generation K+ section, and was nominated for the European Film Awards 2022. Halberstad presented her next film at Cartoon Movie, Fox and Hare Save the Forest, based on Sylvia Vanden Heede’s books.
Established in 2007, Paris-based KMBO is a film distribution company whose catalog combines auteur and commercial animated films. The Amazing Maurice, Moonbound, Just Super and The Elfkins – Baking a Difference are some of the titles distributed by the company recently. This impressive slate helped secure the outfit’s status as Distributor of the Year.
Eurimages Co-Production Development Award
Cartoon Movie and Eurimages, the cultural fund of the Council of Europe, also announced the winner of the €20,000 Eurimages Co-Production Development Award. The award is intended to reward an artistically outstanding animation project in development, which is intended to be made as a co-production.
The winner for the 2023 edition is I’m Still Alive by Roberto Saviano. The film is a production of MAD Entertainment (Italy), Lucky Red (Italy), SIPUR (Israel) and Gapbusters (Belgium).
Based on his autobiographic graphic novel illustrated by Asaf Hanuka (Waltz with Bashir), I’m Still Alive tells the story of a man forced to live under police protection for over a decade. Narrated in first person in his own voice, the movie spotlights 15 years of the author’s real life, starting from his debut bestselling organized crime exposé, moving forward and backward, mixing flashbacks from his childhood and imaginary events he couldn’t help dreaming of.
The jury was composed of Simon Crowe (SC Films International, United Kingdom), Elena Kotova (Eurimages) and Pierre Mazars (Charades, France). The panel was impressed by the diversity and quality of projects under consideration, and selected the winner for its creative boldness and narrative courage.
Cartoon Movie 2024 will be held March 5-7 in Bordeaux, France. Visit cartoon-media.eu/movie to learn more.