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Cartoon 2023 – Cartoon Forum

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REPORT : Cartoon Forum 2023

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Un aperçu de quatre projets intrigants qui ont été pitchés cette année à Cartoon Forum, organisé à Toulouse du 18 au 21 septembre

REPORT : Cartoon Forum 2023
L'équipe de Starpets présente le projet pendant Cartoon Forum (© Cartoon)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

During this year’s Cartoon Forum (18-21 September), 76 animated series projects were pitched to the industry reps in attendance. The projects showcased a total of 473 hours of new content, for an overall budget of €393.5 million, and an average cost of €5.1 million per show. This year, the Toulouse-based event welcomed 270 buyers who were seeking to acquire animated content. Overall, the gathering hosted 1,051 participants from 37 different countries, attending on behalf of 505 firms, and 10.5% of professionals were coming to the event for the first time.

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Below, we detail four interesting projects presented during the three-day event:

Starpets - Stéphane Berla (France)
The 10x15-minute “space kitsch comedy” show, whose logline is “To Absurdity and Beyond”, is aimed at a 15-plus audience. It is being produced by Hélène Juguet and Hugo Revon for Ubisoft Film & Television, and was penned by Éric Judor, Hafid Bena­mar and Baptiste Nicolai. The creative team said that with this project, they are up for “taking a few risks” and hope that the “silly but not mean” characters will give the audience a “new headache”. The show centres on intergalactic emperor John LeDouche, whose mother prophesised that a Chosen One would soon put an end to his tyrannical reign. However, before dying, the Chosen One transferred 25% of his brilliant brain into a Rabbid’s body – all because of a bandwidth issue. He turned into Ken in the process, and thus the universe’s destiny now rests on his furry shoulders, his mule and his “quarter of a genius”. The series tackles “very philosophical, deep themes”, such as: “Is being a genius at 20% better than being an idiot at 80%? We’ve thought a lot about this equation throughout our series,” the team admits. A preview clip from the show’s first episode sees LeDouche attacking a planet of cute bunnies and destroying it as Ken wastes his time threatening him and counting down from 20, without remembering what comes before the number 15. The project is budgeted at €5.5 million.

Mavka – director TBC (Ukraine/France)
The 26x22-minute fantasy-comedy-adventure series is a co-production in early development between Ukraine’s Animagrad (a division of Film.UA) and France’s TeamTO, aimed at audiences aged six to ten. Pitched on stage by producers Iryna Kostyuk, Corinne Kouper and Anna Eliseeva, the show follows in the footsteps of the successful animated feature Mavka: The Forest Song, which has racked up impressive box-office results, grossing $18.9 million worldwide. “For the first time, Ukrainian kids got their national animation hero,” said the producers, adding how the 3D show will be made up of self-contained episodes. During the series, Mavka and her friends are on a mission to restore order in the forest, after humans tried to capture its Source of Life. A number of new characters will be introduced, including her new friend Tumbledind (“a cheerful, restless, red-haired girl”), Flameflyer (“an arrogant, narcissistic forest guy who can fly while turning into a fireball”), Chuhai (the main troublemaker, “a giant with the height of three men, covered in fur and moss”), Lesh and Voda. Evgeniy Drachov, of Film.UA, is in charge of the project’s distribution.

Ursa – The Polar Bear – director TBC (Norway)
Pitched on stage by Fabelaktiv producer Arild Halvorsen, creator and Ulvenfilm co-producer Natalia Bratli, and screenwriter Trond Morten, the project is a 26x5-minute 2D data cut-out show aimed at pre-schoolers (aged between two and five years old). Based on Bratli’s previous short revolving around the lead character, each episode is budgeted at €45,000. The titular protagonist “lives in the most vulnerable place, the Arctic”, and “with her friends, she explores big and small mysteries”, giving the audience a taste of “the beautiful and challenging polar life”, the team reveals. The project, defined as “true to the Arctic and Sámi traditions”, aims to tell engaging stories while “creating emotional links” with the challenges faced by nature in the Arctic. The team hopes that the show will “open up a dialogue for pre-schoolers to connect to the topics of ecology and climate change”.

Halvorsen disclosed on stage that Ursa is “a gift to his six-year-old daughter”, who is very much like her – “curious, helpful and tough when needed. […] They’re both a bit naïve, and sometimes their curiosity makes them embark on challenges that are too big for them. Even though Ursa is small, she always knows when something is wrong and somebody needs help,” he adds.

The friends accompanying Ursa during her journey are seal puppy Selma (“funny, easily distracted and kind-hearted”), walrus Ross (“slow, very wise and a bit lazy”), reindeer Reina (“very determined; she loves to show off and stays positive”) and tiny Lemmy (“his small size doesn’t stop him from being very loud”).

Baby’s First Crime Spree – director TBC (Ireland/UK)
Baby’s First Crime Spree is a rip-roaring comedy-adventure series, with bags of heart – and stolen cakes. Baby Frank wants to right the wrongs of the world with his team of animal friends, even if it means breaking a few rules. It’s a hilarious, high-energy cross between Doctor Dolittle and The A-Team,” state Paul Schleicher and Dan Dixon, of Snafu Pictures (UK), who are producing with Carla Mooney, of Ireland’s Cardel Entertainment.

“We’ve had a great time at Cartoon Forum. Snafu is a young company, and we’re just finishing our first Netflix commission – a 24-episode series called Bad Dinosaurs. We’re pleased to say that, at five months old, we had the youngest exec producer in the room. With our partners at Cardel, we can’t wait to continue the exciting conversations we’ve had this week and bring Baby Frank into the world,” they continue.

The project, now in early development and budgeted at €9.96 million, is a 52x11-minute comedy-adventure targeting audiences aged six to nine. The team is looking for broadcasters, distributors, financiers and co-producers. The IP is based on the original books by Jim Whalley and Stephen Collins.

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