The international animated feature film co-production forum Cartoon Movie will hold its 21st edition March 5-7, returning to Bordeaux in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region for the third time.
Since its start in 1999, the MEDIA-supported event has brought together producers, directors, authors, distributors, sales agents, broadcasters, video game companies and new media players (900 attendees are expected in 2019) with amazing results: 325 films financed, totalling some 2.1 billion euros of investment. The event has helped bring international hits such as Oscar nominees My Life as a Courgette, Loving Vincent and The Breadwinner; Zombillenium, Richard the Stork, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, Another Day of Life and White Fang to the big screen.
Of the record-number 66 projects selected for 2019 from 25 countries, there are 28 in concept, 24 in development, seven in production and seven in sneak previews. France is represented by 22 projects, followed by Germany with eight, and the Netherlands with six. Ireland and Spain have four each; Belgium, Italy and the U.K. have three each; and Denmark, Latvia and Romania are all represented by two projects.
Out of these selections, there are 44 family comedies (67%) including:
- Terra Willy (TAT Productions – France, producers of The Jungle Bunch), an upcoming adventure movie by Eric Tosti about a young boy exploring an unknown planet, its fauna and flora, and its dangers. (Release date in France: April 3, 2019)
- – New projects from well-known film directors: Savages! (Prélude – France) by Claude Barras (My Life as a Courgette), a stop-motion movie about a friendship between a vivid indigenous girl and a baby orangutan in the jungle of Borneo; Séraphine (Little Big Story – France) by the journalist and author Marie Desplechin; Saba (Maybe Movies – France), the new movie from Alexis Ducord & Benjamin Massoubre (Zombillénium); Prendiluna (Studio Campedelli – Italy) by Christian de Vita (Yellowbird); Stitch Head (Gringo Films – Germany) by Toby Genkel (Richard the Stork) & Reza Memari; and Musketeer of the Tsar (Est-Ouest Films – France) by Paul & Gaëtan Brizzi.
- Henrietta – The MOOvie (WunderWerk – Germany), an adaptation of the book by Alexander Steffensmeier. The brand is already well-known in several countries, and a TV series (Cartoon Forum 2017) is currently in production.
- Sidi Kaba and the Gateway Home (Special Touch Studios – France). The producer is Sébastien Onomo (Allah Is Not Obliged and Funan).
- Of Unwanted Things and People (MAUR film – Czech Republic), a stop-motion project.
- Dino Mite – The Movie (M.A.R.K.13 – Germany), which has a parallel TV series and game in development with Studio Fizbin.
- Chequered Ninja (A. Film Production – Denmark), a 3D movie, will be presented in sneak preview. The movie is based on the book written by director Anders Matthesen and it had the best opening week on record for a Danish film, with 346,000 tickets sold since its Dec. 25 release.
This year, films with with young adult/adult target audiences and those featuring historical or political themes make up 20% of projects:
- Based on the 1932 documentary Los Hurdes: Land without Bread, Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (Sygnatia – Spain) by Salvador Simó is produced by one of the leading Spanish animation producers: Manuel Cristóbal (Wrinkles, The Missing Lynx, Dragonkeeper).
- Book adaptations: I Lost my Body (Xilam Animation – France) by Jérémy Clapin (director of the acclaimed and award-winning short film Skhizein) is based on the book Happy Hand by Guillaume Laurant. The project is a non-photorealistic film mixing 2D & 3D techniques about an absurd and fantastic story. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Cinéma Defacto – France) by Pierre Földes is based on the book Short Stories by Haruki Murakami.
- Kiki (Lupus Films – U.K.) by Peter Dodd is about the life of Alice Prin, a.k.a. the Queen of Montparnasse, a French artist in the 1920s. This slice of history unravels up until the crash of Wall Street.
- No Dogs or Italians Allowed (Les Films du Tambour de Soie – France) by Alain Ughetto is a story about Italian immigrants leaving their homeland to settle somewhere else. The project is a combination of digital 2D, stop motion, puppets and live action.
- The new project from Alessandro Rak (The Art of Happiness, Cinderella the Cat) is The Walking Liberty (MAD Entertainment – Italy), which takes place when the world we know has come to an end, letting nature retake possession of the planet. It is a story about a new world, a new society and the long hard process of civilization.
- The Crossing (Les Films de l’Arlequin – France) by Florence Miailhe (also co-writer with Marie Desplechin) is being created in an original painting technique.
- The Island (Aparte Film – Romania), the new project from Anca Damian (Marona’s Fantastic Tale, The Magic Mountain and Crulic: The Path to Beyond), is about an upside-down Robinson Crusoe story. The project is mixing 2D/3D, painting, and cut-out.
Four projects are supported by regional organizations: Comrades (Blick Productions – France), mixing painting and live action; Linda Wants Chicken (Dolce Vita Films – France) by Chiara Malta & Sébastien Laudenbach (Girl without Hands), Bonobo Joe (Magpie 6 Media – Ireland, in co-production with Malil’Art Productions – France) and Marona’s Fantastic Tale (Aparte Films – Romania, Sacrebleu Productions – France, and Minds Meet – Belgium. A part of this film is produced in the studio of Marmitafilms – Bordeaux/Angoulême) by Anca Damian.
For the fourth consecutive year, one Cartoon Connection project will be presented: The Odd Ones (Bardel – Canada) selected at last Cartoon Connection Canada by European broadcasters (from the BBC, Canal+ and France Télévisions). In addition, one project that was pitched at Cartoon Springboard 2017, event dedicated to the emergence of young talents, was selected: Sisterhood of the Glade (Studio Pupil – Netherlands) by Marlyn Spaaij.
For the third time, Cartoon Movie will direct its spotlight at a country. This year, the Netherlands — a country which has a vibrant animation industry and open attitude towards international production, has been chosen. The Spotlight on the Netherlands is supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, Creative Industries Funds NL, Animation Producers Netherlands, CFAP and AVROTROS.
The country’s six selected projects are:
- Benjamin Bat (The Storytellers Film & TV) – in development
- Miss Moxy (Bosbros) – in development
- Pat & Mat: The Film (Lemming Film) – in development
- In the Forest (Submarine) – in concept
- Sisterhood of the Meadow (Studio Pupil) – in concept
- The King and the Thief (il Luster) – in concept
Dutch co-productions selected:
- Where Is Anne Frank (Submarine) – in production
- My Grandfather Used to Say He Saw Demons (Submarine) – in development
- Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (Submarine) – sneak preview
Cartoon also organizes Cartoon Games, which consists of a complete afternoon with two keynotes on the video game industry (case-studies to show successful examples of transforming a comic book into a video game or business and technical opportunities between animation and video games) and a session of one-2-one meetings between participants. This special event will start at 2 p.m. on March 5 at Palais des Congrès in order to establish a new synergy between the sector of Animation and Video Games and in the long term, to encourage producers to bring Game and Transmedia partner at the same early stage as the co-producer and the distributor in the process of a feature film.