Over a lovely pint of Hofbrau beer last night, I had a chance to reflect on Day Two at Cartoon Forum and prepare some highlights to share with you. For starters, a surprise hit in the morning came from France’s Image-in.
The prodco presented a terrific short series concept for young preschoolers that plays on the universal kid appeal of guessing games called Beast in the Box. Each ep starts off with a mysterious white box with a beast of some sort hiding inside. Helped along by a quick string of clues (all animated comically enough to illicit belly laughs from a largely sleep-deprived audience of kids execs who’d partied into the wee hours at MFG Filmforderung’s late-night happy hour), a child narrator must guess what kind of creature the box contains. The crowd was universally impressed with the innovation and animation quality of the project, and Simon Hunt from Tiscali felt it would make a great channel-branding package. If you’re curious, check out the pilot at www.image-in.cc. As we predicted in our September issue’s Cartoon Forum preview, Alphanim’s Pok & Mok and Imira Entertainment’s Myo & Ga went over like gangbusters – hardly surprising in a market that’s clamoring for slick boys animation with an action-comedy bent.
Dropping out for a moment now to meet the winners of Cartoon’s Tribute awards and answer the burning question: Will the strong German contingent here vote along national lines and trigger a home-turf sweep?
I guess not! All three winners this year hail from outside of Germany, and the crowd was overwhelmingly supportive of the results. Cartoon Saloon was named Producer of the Year, and although it was hard to tell behind the hat and glasses, I’m pretty sure that Paul Young may have had a little something in his eyes. I think half the room got misty when Joan Lofts, ever gracious and about to retire, accepted the Best Distributor/Investor of the Year on behalf of Rubber Duck Entertainment. Luckily for us all that saucy host Christophe Erbes was on-hand to lighten the mood (you’d never know it, but Erbes says public speaking makes him really nervous). Julien Borde thanked the crowd, his team and Cartoon Forum in both English and French when France 3 won Broadcaster of the Year – by a mere seven votes! No word on which of the other nominees (Jetix Europe, S4C, SVT and ZDF) finished just out of the top spot.
Today’s pitchers really picked up their game to fight the Friday malaise that settles over Forum-goers each year, with Kindle Entertainment bringing in a live musical performance to make their presentation of The Troubadours sing, and with veteran producer Andras Erkel’s short series Huhu wowing attendees with its physically driven comedy and detailed plan for ancillary revenue generation. Seriously, check it out if you get a chance. Those owls are a hoot! (Sorry about that. Couldn’t help myself.)
Celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, Cartoon Forum 2009 will be held in Stavanger, Norway, which counts oil, sheep and animation as some of its greatest natural resources!
Signing off, and preparing to go drink wine in the middle of a field this evening. (For real; I’m not kidding)