Granny and Geronimo Make Waves at Cartoons on the Bay Festival

The 14th Edition of the Cartoons on the Bay festival (held in Rapallo, Italy) came to a close this past weekend, with Brown Bag Films’ Oscar-nominated short Granny O’Grimm emerging as one of the most lauded projects at the annual event. Directed by Nicky Phelan, the delightful tale of a very grumpy old Irishwoman’s version of Sleeping Beauty was awarded the Pulcinella for Best Short as well as the Best Animated Character of the year.

Among the other projects winning awards during a hectic, but mercifully fast-paced presentation were Fun with Claude, Angelo Rules, The Penguins of Madagascar, Verne on Vacation and The Gruffalo. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement to animation legend Don Bluth (Fantasia, Titan A.E., An American Tail, The Land Before Time) who graciously accepted the honor. ‘I have had such a great time visiting this beautiful country,’ said Bluth. ‘I am so impressed by the top level of talent I have seen here during my visit. I think you should make an animated movie here in Italy … I think Hollywood will be blown away.’

Atlantyca, the prolific Milan-based studio and publishing company behind such shows as Geronimo Stilton, Dive Olly Dive and the upcoming Oscar and Co., received the festival’s Italian Studio of the Year honor at this year’s festival. The studio’s chairman Pietro Marietti, CEO Claudia Mazzucco and exec producer Caterina Vacchi also held a special panel and press event at the festival.

The company’s most famous personality, Geronimo Stilton was quite well represented at the festival. Storyboard art from the popular series, which just announced its second season, was on display at the special Cartoon Village area of the event, while children had the chance to take pictures with the famous journalist mouse (well, a costumed version of the character) and take home free Geronimo goodies.

Diversity Issues on Display

The 2010 Cartoons on the Bay Professional program featured various panels that highlighted the importance of diversity in animated projects from around the world. Professionals from China, Iran, Egypt and Dubai were on hand to discuss the specific issues and topics of each region with the audience.

Gisella De Pace (ICE), Kevin Geiger (Magic Dumpling), Isaac Wu Chen (BeTop Multimedia), Wu Tao (Blue Dolphin Animation) and Kieron Seamons (Sandman Animation) provided new insights into the Chinese Animation sector and highlighted upcoming projects and co-productions. In addition, Francesco Testa, Cristina Lastrego, Luca Milano and Alfio Bastiancich (president of Asifa, Italy) showcased the new Chinese-Italian co-production Marco Polo.

Among the show’s highlights was a special panel with Laura Mattavelli (Nickelodeon, Italy’s acquisition and programming manager), Giorgio Welter (VP of Societe Tele Images Kids) and Matteo Stanzani (founder and creator director of Melazeta). The animation pros discussed how they weave themes of diversity and inclusion in shows such as Nick’s Ni Hao, Kai Lan, Tele Images’ Sally Bollywood and Melazeta’s Gabriella & Gedeone.

Festival director Roberto Genovesi also announced that the 2011 edition of the festival will showcase the thriving animation scene in Brazil.

Here is a list of the major 2010 Pulcinella winners:

Best Preschool Series:

Fun with Claude

Red & Blue Productions, UK

Best Children’s Series (7-10)

Angelo Rules

TeamTO, France

Best Tween Series (11-13)

The Penguins of Madagascar

Nickelodeon, U.S.

Best Young Adults Series (14-17)

Flying Trapeze

Toei Animation, Japan

Best Educational/Social Message Project

The Little Boy and the Beast

Studio Soi GmbH (Germany)

Best Series Pilot

Verne on Vacation

Turner Network International, U.K.

Best Cross Media Project

Assassin’s Creed 2

Ubisoft, Italy

Best Interactive Animation

Unchartered 2: Among Thieves

Sony Computer Entertainment, U.S.

Best Animated Short

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty

Directed by Nicky Phelan

Brown Bag Films, Ireland

Best Animated Character of the year

Granny O’Grimm

Brown Bag Films, Ireland

Best European Project of the Year

The Gruffalo

Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang

Magic Lantern Pictures

For a more detailed list, visit cartoonsbay.com