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INDUSTRY Central and Eastern Europe

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The Ljubljana Accord on CEE animation signed

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- Representatives of 16 Central and Eastern European countries have signed the document to join forces, and improve the quantity and quality of animated content in the region

The Ljubljana Accord on CEE animation signed
A photo taken during the CEE Animation Workshop

The CEE Animation Workshop, held in Ljubljana from 2-6 December, supported by Creative Europe Desks - MEDIA and set against the backdrop of the Animateka International Animated Film Festival, saw the signing of the Ljubljana Accord, initiated by Michal Podhradsky of the Visegrad Animation Forum and ASAF (Czech Republic), Juraj Krasnohorsky of APAF (Slovakia) and Matija Šturm of D’SAF! (Slovenia). The idea of the document is to define a strategy for the growth of the animation industry and to enable animation projects to be eligible for more institutional support. The Ljubljana Accord is aimed at film-funding bodies, distributors, national television stations and governments, and suggests how to create a more positive environment.

“The Ljubljana Accord is important to us as proof that we are not just small, independent producers from small, separate countries, but we really recognise each other as being part of one region that we want to construct, the CEE animation region, so the world can see us as a brand, as a region, as something that works together. This is the first step and is proof that the people here have worked together, that they have agreed on something and they have very precise needs that they can formulate together, which is a great start for any kind of co-production or production together,” says Krasnohorsky.

The workshop was designed as a one-off event intended to facilitate education and networking for those producers in the region who are venturing into the world of animated films. The goal was to further connect the people involved in the burgeoning animation industry and to elevate the level of presence that animation has in the Central and Eastern European region. The idea for this event emerged during the annual meetings at the Visegrad Animation Forum. Twenty-four participants from 16 different countries took part.

Macedonian filmmaker Goce Cvetanovski says: “I have learned so much over the course of just a few days here; I have met some new people, while some of them I knew from workshops and market events before, and this was an ideal way to extend my network of contacts. Also, I got an insight into different strategies and possible obstacles for my new project, a feature-length animated film. I liked the initiative right from the start, and now that I have actually seen it, I think there is hope for animation in Central and Eastern Europe. This is just the first step; some things that have to change. I hope that it will become a regular event because young producers can only benefit from such gatherings.”

The workshop started with personal and company presentations, and information on the animation sector in the CEE region. Plenaries were held on the topics of broadcasting ("Broadcasters: What Do They Need?"), marketing (a “Marketing Animation Sector” presentation by Mathias Noschis of Alphapanda), international sales in the animation sector (a presentation by Richard Rowe of DHX Media) and co-production possibilities. “Pan-European Support for Animation” was presented by Iris Cadoux of Eurimages and Sabine Minniti of the European Commission’s Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. The last plenary was a case study on the animated feature Oops, Noah is Gone… presented by studio executives Moe Honan of Moetion Films and Siún Ní Raghallaigh of Ardmore Studios, while the panel "Creating a Competitive CEE Marketplace" rounded off the programme for participants. The speakers were: Martina Pestaj (RTV Slovenija), Ferenc Varsanyi (Media Council of Hungary), Robert Jaszczurowski (GS Animation), Juraj Krasnohorsky (Artichoke) and Matija Šturm (Slovene Animated Film Association). Three group discussions also took place, covering topics that included good co-production practices, legal and accounting requirements in co-production and financial planning, and planning and amending those plans. The programme was supervised by the head of studies, veteran Canadian producer Linda Beath.

An established Irish animation producer and one of the tutors, Moe Honan, says that it was also inspirational for the tutors to see the projects, the talent and the potential, and also to see the problems and the issues that people face in the countries of this region. She remarks that the situation for animation here reminded her of Ireland’s position 25 years ago and adds: “We see that there is a lot of potential for the people to grow their industry here and to collaborate together. That would be the main focus here, and hopefully the participants will change something through collaboration and co-production.”

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