Italy’s National Association of Animation Producers, Cartoon Italia, issued a message to the European animation community on the effects of coronavirus on the industry — receiving immediate outpourings of support from around the continent.
“The Italian animation industry and community are firm in facing this difficult moment,” says Anne Sophie Vanhollebeke, president of Cartoon Italia, in a message to European colleagues. The email was sent Thursday afternoon to reassure foreign partners and raise awareness of the measures to be taken in the rest of Europe to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of Italian animation productions are co-produced with foreign partners. In this moment of global emergency, the Cartoon Italia board has thus decided to do its part, while informing partners that, at the moment, production proceeds without major problems.
“We are all smart-working from our houses or, for those who have to be in the studios, taking the utmost precautions with regard to a proper distance from colleagues, carefully avoiding any contact. We come to know that these measures are being taken in some of your countries, but we would like to advise you that
everything is related to individual responsibility. Please consider the risks of this virus very seriously,” Vanhollebeke urged, with the hope of reuniting with the international community soon at Cartoon Digital in Cagliari, Italy. The forum is currently still scheduled for the end of May despite the cancelation and postponement of so many events.
The email resulted in an immediate flood of support from the international animation community:
“Our hearts are with you,” was the first message from Finland.
“Congratulations to our friends of animation in Italy. We will do what is required to get out of this virus,” wrote Christian Davin, president of the CARTOON association in Brussels, which organizes major business events including Cartoon Digital and the recent Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux, just before the so-called #iorestoacasa (I stay home) decree.
“We think of you, and we hope that you will get rid of this damned virus soon,” president of the French animation producers association (SPFA) Philippe Alessandri replied. “From here on, courage and prudence!”
“We are well aware that what you have now is about to come to most of us within a very short time… Good times to stick together and hold on to what unites us,” said a message from Berlin.
“Although it may seem exaggerated, we try to do what we are asked to do. We hope this does not jeopardized too much all of your productions,” read some wishes from Belgium.
“We know you have already got an extreme situation in Italy and this is very difficult and sad, too. We send you strength. This is about all of us helping as a community helping and cooperating to slow this thing down,” Irish producer Moe Honan wrote, adding that even Ireland has enacted a “semi-block” situation, with schools and universities closed, meetings of people limited to certain numbers and many events canceled. “We are creative people, we will work on and can focus in a different way over the coming weeks. Maybe we will be more productive!”
“It’s sad and scary what is going on. Hopefully Italy will go through this without great harm and all end up soon. Most probably we all will have to face the same difficult situation in our countries. Luckily, our animation business is not so sensitive to such situations, thanks to the internet. But so many others will bleed. Global economy as well,” wrote Robert Jaszczurowski from Poland. “In Poland, we have schools, cinemas, theaters, clubs shut down. All borders are under control. I can only say what my grandfather told me about vodka: it’s a cure for all plagues, my boy! This time, use it externally! We will survive!”
“Italy is receiving the worst part of this pandemic but we are all united in the Fight,” assured Iván Agenjo from Spain. “Here, all schools and universities are closed from today onwards, minimum 15 days, and all of us who can work remotely from home, we do. This is the best way to minimize the impact of the virus. So to all you friends, stay home, stay safe, slow down your rhythm a little bit, spend these days closer to your family. We will have the chance to go back to our stressful lives afterwards.”
And Kate O’Connor from Animation U.K. sent “messages of solidarity and support to all our EU friends and animation family.”