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Cartoon 2023 – Cartoon Next

Dossier industrie: Animation

REPORT : Cartoon Next 2023


Quelques détails sur trois projets intrigants qui ont été pitchés à la 2e édition de Cartoon Next, qui s’est tenue à Marseille du 18 au 20 avril

REPORT : Cartoon Next 2023
Le producteur Ron Dyens pendant le pitch du projet franco-belge Sirocco et le royaume des courants d’air de Benoît Chieux (© Cartoon)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

The second edition of Cartoon Next unspooled in Marseille, Provence, from 18-20 April. The event saw the participation of 221 attendees from 23 countries as well as 40 speakers and experts. This year’s programme included a total of 17 keynotes, panels and case studies along with eight pitching sessions. Here, we present details of three intriguing projects that were pitched at the gathering.

Babookums by Tadas Vidmantas
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Hot docs EFP inside

Babookums – Tadas Vidmantas (Lithuania)
Presented on stage by producer Jurgita Rakauskaite, of Make It Happen, the 18x10-minute series (currently in production, with eight episodes already finalised and aired by Lithuanian pubcaster LRT) aims to intercept a rather broad target audience, encompassing children aged between four and ten. Commissioned by LRT and the Lithuanian Film Centre, Babookums revolves around “unseen creatures living among us”. The team includes director and key creative Tadas Vidmantas, illustrator Egle Wildheart, composer Vytautas Bikus, lead animator Aivaras Ligeika and animator Andrius Alcauskas. Penned by Vidmantas with his wife, Lina Vidmantė, the idea was born of a game they used to play at the airport before their departures, where one of them would make up a silly name, and other would imagine and draw a character that would suit that name. The titular creatures experience the most unexpected adventures, solve problems, explore the outside world, deal with their emotions whether they’re sad or happy, and learn something new. The whole Babookums universe consists of about 40 characters (including both lead and supporting ones), and they are all gender-neutral. “A very important part of our show is that every Babookum has a special feature or superpower that makes them stand out from the others. [...] But it’s not a series about superheroes and their adventures. Some of their special features are magical because Babookums are magical, but some of them can almost go unnoticed,” said Rakauskaite, adding that the real focus of the series is on the themes of well-being and mental health, which here are treated in “a very light and non-didactic way”. The IP’s cross-media strategy included the release of a feature film (first in theatres, and later on VoD and free TV), the launch of a YouTube channel, the creation of an online shop, the sale of toys and the strengthening of the local fan base. The team is currently in talks with Estonian and Latvian players to export their IP. The next step will be to find partners and sales agents for a second season, which is set to intercept broader, international audiences.

The poster for Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds by Benoît Chieux

Sirocco and the Kingdom of the WindsBenoît Chieux (France/Belgium)
Presented on stage by producer Ron Dyens, the animated feature project is a co-production between Le Studio Animation and Sacrebleu Productions (France, the studio behind the animated hit My Sunny Maad [+lire aussi :
interview : Michaela Pavlátová
fiche film
), Ciel de Paris (France) and Take Five (Belgium). The feature follows Agnès, the neighbour of four-year-old Juliette and eight-year-old Carmen, who writes children’s books set in a fantastical world, The Kingdom of the Winds. The two sisters discover a passage between their world and this extraordinary universe. Once there, the girls take on the appearance of cats and discover the existence of Sirocco, a terrifying character able to control the wind. Among the themes explored will be “sisterhood”, “boredom”, “adventure”, “imagination” and, of course, “wind”.

The team is currently in talks with an undisclosed video-game publisher. The Sirocco video game will last six to eight hours, and it will be made available on PC and consoles. A 48-page book is also planned. Delivery of the feature is slated for December 2023.

A 52x11-minute TV series aimed at children aged six to nine will also be in the works, based on a similar release model to that implemented by the Ernest & Celestine [+lire aussi :
interview : Benjamin Renner, Vincent P…
fiche film
and Big Hero Six franchises. Each episode will follow the structure of the film, but it will star a different lead character. The team is also surveying ideas to implement the story universe within a VR experience, and is planning the sale of merchandise items, such as plush toys, toothbrushes, tableware, make-up and magnets.

Spanish Chapbooks by Andrés Guevara López

Spanish ChapbooksAndrés Guevara López (Spain)
Presented by director-producer Andrés Guevara Lopez, of Pata Palo Films, the 4x60-minute young adult/adult-orientated series is based on the titular “very cheap publications”, which were published in a country where half of the population was illiterate and which were usually sold in markets. In the 19th century, Spain was “a very dangerous place to be”, hit by the aftermath of a civil war. At the time, many veterans were not able to readapt to civilian life again and became bandits. Meanwhile, a new police force, the Guardia Civil, was created out of a number of military corps.

The project’s aesthetic influences include authors such as Remington, Giraud, Moebius, Burgeon, Mucha, Manara and Bilal. It will be a 3D, AI-assisted/generated series, made with the help of mocaps and facecaps, and created using Unreal Engine 5.

“What would you do if the world around you were changing, you didn’t recognise it and you couldn’t find your place [any more]? That’s what happens to our characters,” said Guevara López before introducing some of his characters. Mara is the story’s true protagonist, described as “a 20th-century woman trapped in the 19th century”, but who still “struggles with her traumas and limitations”. Her partner, Ramon the Basque, is the charismatic head of a gang who feels lost in a world dominated by progress and change. After being betrayed by the landlord they served, Don Jacob, they escape from jail, planning to fight their former employer’s army. Meanwhile, a young captain from the Guardia Civil is sent from Madrid to capture them. Ramon is seized, but the decorated officer captain grants him three days of grace to confront their common enemy.

The project’s transmedia strategy includes the making of a video game (the genre of which is yet to be decided but will most likely sport a strong RPG component), a series of comic books, a board game, several VR/AR experiences, real-life tours as well as joint initiatives with cultural institutions, such as museums or schools.

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