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“Ibermedia Next promotes innovation and co-development, which are key in an industry where technological leadership is paramount”

Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World

Víctor Herreruela, Jara Ayucar • Technical unit coordinator, Ibermedia programme, and marketing policy director, ICAA

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The two professionals discuss Ibermedia Next, Ibermedia's scheme that supports Ibero-American digital animation, after the announcement of the first beneficiary projects

Víctor Herreruela, Jara Ayucar  • Technical unit coordinator, Ibermedia programme, and marketing policy director, ICAA

We chatted to Víctor Herreruela, technical unit coordinator at the Ibermedia programme, and Jara Ayucar, marketing policy director at the ICAA, about the Ibermedia Next programme, which has just announced the first projects it is backing (see the news) at Ventana Sur.

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Cineuropa: What is Ibermedia Next’s long-term vision when it comes to providing support for the film industry in Europe and Latin America?
Víctor Herreruela:
The industry support provided by the Ibermedia programme is unwavering and is in the DNA of every single action we have carried out over the last 25 years. In the specific case of the Ibermedia Next pilot scheme, we are currently rolling out components of the support that are different from economic backing. We are having personalised meetings with each of the beneficiaries with the aim of coming up with bespoke training, consultancy, promotional and circulation programmes that will be fine-tuned during 2024 and part of 2025. In parallel with this, we are mindful of the synergies that may arise when it comes to funding future editions, which would allow us to bolster transatlantic audiovisual cooperation.

Jara Ayucar: The opportunity to build bridges in the world of animation within the Ibero-American region has become a reality thanks to this strategic and highly relevant project, which we at the ICAA have invested a great deal in thanks to the NextGenerationEU funds from the PRTR [Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan]. Right now, it’s too soon to talk about the future, but in conjunction with the institutions that support Ibermedia Next, we will study the possibilities of continuing it uninterrupted.

How does the programme plan to adapt to the coming changes and challenges in film production?
VH:
This pilot call for Ibermedia Next is a declaration of intent for how we wish to form part of the future of the Ibero-American region’s audiovisual scene. Fostering innovation and co-development is key as we look to the future of the sector in an industry where technological leadership is paramount. The warm welcome for the call – with more than 100 propositions received – and the 14 projects selected represent an important demonstration of attitudes towards defining the shape of upcoming audiovisual content. The key will be to successfully boost the development of new methods in a continually evolving audiovisual and technological context.

What types of projects does Ibermedia Next seek to foster and support?
VH:
One of the characteristics that has defined Ibermedia Next has been the typology of projects that we have the capacity to support. Prototypes, teasers, pilots, short films and music videos made using digital animation were all eligible. Of the 14 selected projects, five were teasers, four were pilots, two were shorts, two were prototypes, one was a VR installation, and four were projects that we labelled as VR experiences. All of the beneficiaries are in tune with Ibermedia Next’s objectives: to support a new generation of male and female Ibero-American creators who are proving their talent through animated productions and innovative digital content that eschew the usual formats.

Is there any particular focus in terms of the genres, themes or formats that are being considered for future calls?
VH:
The way we conceived of this support and the selection process by the evaluation committee has sought to strike a balance between “the how”, which means the use of open-source and/or disruptive technologies, and “the what” of the subject that is being narrated. In the selected projects, we can observe how they make use of innovative or as-yet undeveloped technologies to tell of universal struggles, such as feminism, environmental protection, mental health, or more local topics, like minority languages and cultures, or social and political problems.

How are you encouraging international collaboration among the participants in projects supported by Ibermedia Next?
JA:
One of the fundamental objectives of Ibermedia Next, and it’s something which we at the ICAA committed ourselves to right from the start in a strategic way, is to bring together professionals from both sides of the Atlantic so that they can tell stories in a heartfelt way thanks to new animation technologies. Once selected, besides the financial boost, one of the key elements of the Ibermedia Next pilot support programme is its professional backing for the beneficiaries, with specific consultancy programmes and accompaniment at key rendezvous for the sector, as well as the creation of a professional community comprising the beneficiaries, who already know each other and have a chance to discuss the progress they have made.

VH: Furthermore, for the Ibermedia Next call, we developed the matchmaking tool Ibermedia Next Plaza, a platform on which professionals from the sector can come into contact and establish synergies.

What are the trends emerging in the film industry at the moment, which the programme considers relevant to the future?
VH: In relation to the Ibero-American animation industry, and in light of the projects received and selected following the Ibermedia Next call, technologies that are powering open source are clearly coming to the fore, together with what this means in the medium and long term: the forging of networks where all of the participants from the professional community engage in direct and selfless collaboration. On the other hand, we are seeing disruptive innovations, such as video-game technology being applied to audiovisual content, real-time rendering engines, generative AI, LLM (large language model), VR/AR/XR and photogrammetry, among others...

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(Translated from Spanish)

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