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ANIMATION Belgium

Animated films flourish in Belgium

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At the Annecy Animated Film Festival – which closed on June 14 – two Belgian films picked up honours in the graduate student film category. Johan Pollefoort’s Le Voyageur (“The Traveller”, adapted from Baudelaire’s “The Journey” - see the article at Cinergie's website) received a special mention, and Gerlando Infuso’s Margot won the Junior Jury Prize. These two directors trained at the Atelier de la Cambre.

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These awards have come at a time when the animated film sector is a focus of interest and debate in Belgium. In March, at the 10th edition of Cartoon Movies – the European forum for animated film – Belgium presented six projects and films.

Companies such as Vivi Films, Walking the Dog and La Parti are involved in ambitious projects such as Brendan and The Secret of Kells, Pinocchio and the feature-length version of A Town Called Panic (with voiceovers by Benoît Poelvoorde and Bouli Lanners). Bob et Bobette: les Diables du Texas (“Bob and Bobette: The Devils of Texas”, Skyline, WAT-Productions) will also be released at the end of the year.

At the start of June, 14 of the main companies who operate in the animated film sector either in Flanders or Brussels and Wallonia grouped together to form the professional union anim.be. One of their main aims will be to develop and promote European co-productions.

Moreover, Walloon representatives of the profession met in Namur on Wednesday, on the occasion of the “Grenelles de l’animation”. The TIC (Information and Communication Technologies) sector accounts for €2.5bn of annual turnover, divided between over 600 companies, and generating over 15,000 jobs.

As well as receiving funding from the Film and Audiovisual Centre of the French Community of Belgium and the Vlaams Audiovisual Fund, animated films also get support from Wallimage, the Tax Shelter fund, and the Promimage programme. The latter – an initiative of the Walloon government – has a fund of €4m for the period 2007-2009, which, it is rumoured, may be renewed in 2009.

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(Translated from French)

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