At the beginning of March, the 25th-anniversary co-production forum for animated feature films Cartoon Movie 2023 was held in France. It brought together about 500 stakeholders of the animation industry from all over Europe – producers, heads of studios, and representatives of international funds gathered in Bordeaux to speed up financing and find co-producers and international distributors for their projects.
The head of the Forum Annick Maes was joined on stage by Anastasiya Verlinska, director of the LINOLEUM festival, who gave a speech during the event where she thanked the organizers for the invitation and this year's edition’s special attention to the animation industry of Ukraine. In addition, Alain Rousset, the president of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, who took part in the Cartoon Movie opening event online, also supported Ukraine in his speech.
Overall, 23 representatives of the country's animation studios (in particular, Animagrad, Avtoritetstudio, Lisenbart Film, Sun Stories, Studio KAPI, Chervoniy Sobaka, YARKI, and others) joined the Forum as part of the Ukrainian delegation; 6 up-and-coming professionals represented the country's animation sector in the Young Talents section. During the two-day event, they gave multiple interviews to international media and talked to colleagues from around the world, promoting opportunities for cooperation with the country.
The participation of seven Ukrainian animation studios and six young talents within the Cartoon Movie forum took place due to the support of USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine and was organized by Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival LINOLEUM in cooperation with Media Resources Management (MRM) company.
In total, Ukrainian delegates held about 70 meetings, where they discussed the possibilities of partnership or co-production, international distribution, the potential of ready-made and future Ukrainian animation projects in different territories of the world, and much more. The participants of the Young Talents section discussed the possibilities of studying abroad, involving students in the production of animation and educational practice.
"Such representations of the industry are essential for the sustainability and development of the creative sector of Ukraine. After all, there are prejudices among the international community regarding the work of Ukrainian studios during the war. Our task is to tell how exactly the studios and artists secured production, took servers abroad, arranged uninterrupted power sources, and established remote work processes. Powerful full-length film projects are going through the development stage, despite the limited possibilities of state support, and the studios are counting on service orders" – Alla Prelovska, international project manager at Media Resources Management.
“Ukrainian animation has proven competitive on the world stage and continues to win over the hearts of people worldwide with bright and meaningful works. Development of the industry has numerous advantages for Ukraine, as it can be the tool of cultural diplomacy and promote the image of Ukraine as creative country. Through animated stories we can tell the world about rich Ukrainian culture, poets, tradition, garments, as it was realized in the animated film Mavka. The Program USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine supported the presentation of Ukrainian animation at the Cartoon Movie and will continue to support creative industry,” said Olesya Zaluska, Chief of Party in USAID Competitive Economy Program
The Ukrainian stand within the Forum was devoted to popularizing the country's modern animation and searching for new partnerships for the projects and companies. For the same purpose, an e-catalog of animation projects and services, which includes more than 100 Ukrainian projects over the past 3 years, as well as a trailer that represents the Ukrainian animation industry and its projects of different types and at different production stages were created specifically for Cartoon Movie 2023.
Ukrainian animation projects that were presented during Cartoon Movie received excellent reviews from representatives of the professional community. In particular, the project of the Animagrad studio Roxelana, which is currently under development, was successfully presented within the official pitching program and aroused considerable interest from buyers and other Forum participants. In addition, the event included a special screening of the long-awaited full-length cartoon Mavka: The Forest Song which is already breaking all box office records in Ukraine.
Ukraine's participation in the Cartoon Movie 2023 forum opened up new opportunities for international collaborations and the development of the country's animation market. Ukrainian delegates also see great prospects in continuing cooperation with the organizers of the Forum at their future industry events, such as Cartoon Forum and Cartoon Springboard, aiming to establish contacts and implement joint projects.
The USAID Competitive Economy Program in Ukraine (USAID CEP) supports startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) aiming to provide support for competitive industries and firms on Ukrainian and international markets, foster a better business enabling environment, and enabling Ukrainian companies to benefit from international trade.