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Cartoon 2022 – Cartoon Next

Dossier industrie: Animation

Luca Milano et Chrystel Poncet détaillent les nouvelles références européennes en matière d'animation

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À Cartoon Next, les deux intervenants ont souligné le besoin de mettre l’accent sur la coproduction et de créer un nouveau modèle européen comme alternative aux modèles américain et japonais

Luca Milano et Chrystel Poncet détaillent les nouvelles références européennes en matière d'animation
Luca Milano, le directeur de RAI Ragazzi, pendant la discussion (© Cartoon)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

Day two of the inaugural edition of Cartoon Next (12-15 April) was opened by a panel titled “Next New European Benchmarks”. After a brief introduction by moderator Christophe Erbes, the floor was given to Luca Milano, the director of RAI Ragazzi. Milano began talking about the two main models in place for producing international animated series projects. The first involves the support of a major international player (such as Netflix or Disney), whilst the second entails that of two or more pubcasters or media groups, which reflects “a more classical co-production model”. The third option is to simply acquire content, often after long hold-back windows.

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According to Milano, there is no right or wrong model to adopt, as both may be competitive. “From a producer’s point of view,” he added, “there are pros and cons to each of them.” Nevertheless, in the face of the growing investments being made by international players, a new level of co-operation among European broadcasters is needed, wherein “quality benchmarks cannot be reduced”.

The basis for the development of such increased co-operation is EBU’s “common ground of editorial values and its important commitment to investing in productions”. However, Milano also said that old co-production schemes, such as the one applied on The Animals of Farthing Wood, “are no longer compatible with today’s market”. Speaking about good practices to take heed of, he suggested: “Co-productions involving three or four partners are more likely to succeed, on a case-by-case basis. [...] The alliance in the field of drama established by RAI, France Télévisions and ZDF is another good standard, and it’s working.”

Next, Milano talked the audience through RAI’s commitment to taking part in co-productions, highlighting how co-production contracts are more and more often being replaced by pre-acquisition deals to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles of co-production funding. Over 50% of the Italian pubcaster’s projects are co-produced with France (often with a majority stake, with examples including Street Football, Pat the Dog, Ricky Zoom, Lupin Stories and Alice & Lewis), followed by those made with Germany (Leo Da Vinci [+lire aussi :
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, Grisou), Spain (Annie & Carola), the UK (The Sound Collector) and other European countries. Moreover, a few projects involve extra-European countries such as Brazil, Canada and India.

Finally, Milano argued that it is now time to bring European animation to the next level, as the industry is ready to produce more, and better, content for children. While he acknowledged the normal tendency to support domestic projects – especially among the strongest, most productive countries – he also warned that in the long run, this “national protectionism may weaken Europe’s ability to challenge international conglomerates”. Therefore, a new alliance between national broadcasters and independent producers would be a necessary step to take, as the two parties should not be rivals. He also called for regulatory changes, as some that are in place at both the European and the national level were developed during the 1980s and 1990s, when the media landscape used to be significantly different, and they now hinder creation, the result being that non-European groups benefit.

The second speaker was Chrystel Poncet, of French consultancy firm MaGic C. In her contribution, she pointed out how Europe is a leading territory when it comes to successful IPs travelling around the globe, and mentioned the examples of Peppa Pig, Barbapapa, Paw Patrol, Simon and Molang. Speaking about content trends, she explained that in many countries, 6+ TV series focus on live-action programmes, whilst successful animated content should feature comedy and/or adventure elements and should be able “to travel globally”.

According to Poncet, some argue that Europe needs to follow the American model in terms of its visual, narrative and production codes, but this is just one vision. The same is happening with the growing anime industry, which is on the rise, in particular, among the 6+, 13+, 16+ and 18+ target markets.

“Why not us?” she asked the audience. In the last part of her speech, Poncet touched upon some recent productions that could be identified as attempts for European animation to find its own, distinct voice – these include the likes of the 8x26-minute 8+ series Ewilan’s Quest, Arthur de Pins and Alexis Ducord’s Zombillenium [+lire aussi :
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, and the French anime series Girls of Olympus.

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