Public initiatives stimulate the boom in French animation

Representing 40% of all the projects selected, French productions will dominate the Cartoon Forum in Toulouse this year for reasons that far exceed home advantage. Based on the 33 projects presented during this year’s pitch sessions as well as the relatively robust state of the Gallic animation ecosystem – which produced 295 hours of content in 2020 while increasing foreign investment by nearly 10% since 2018 – are a number of structural and political advantages. reforms designed to directly stimulate such results.

“We have seen the conjunction of several factors”, explains Sarah Hemar, managing director of TV France International, which recently merged with the organization promoting cinema UniFrance. “First, the tradition of graphic arts, drawing and comics, which is well established in France. Then there is a strong system of creative design and training, with many schools creating a highly skilled workforce. “

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“There is also the public sector,” continues Hemar. “Wishing to develop this industry in a more dynamic way, the government intervened at every stage [along the supply chain]. “

These interventions began with a series of measures implemented by the French Ministry of Culture throughout the 1980s which mandated, alongside public funding and a series of incentives, free and pay cable broadcasters of guide a steady flow of investments in the sector. .

In recent years, this has translated into funding of 60 million euros ($ 70 million) for broadcasters, with France Television taking half of this tab. Coupled with the 125 million euros ($ 146 million) brought in by international sales and presales – mostly buyers in the United States and Germany – this government-mandated investment has kept the French industry going. largest event in Europe, with 133 identified studios and 7,500 employees.

And the fact that many, if not most, are not in Paris is no coincidence either.

“There was a central decision to decentralize the ecosystem,” explains Hemar. “In France, if you do not decide to decentralize, everything [conglomerate]. So there was a decision to irrigate the territory.

Co-production between the Rennes shingle Vivement Lundi et Paris and the Angoulême company Superprod, the Cartoon Forum’s pitch project “Moi et mon compost” (photo) is a title which has benefited from a more varied national landscape.

Note: The 2D animated series with an ecological vocation has benefited not only from the more generalized support of France CNC and Creative Media Europe, a project of the European Commission, but also of Tempo, a local development fund launched by the city of Rennes.

“There are various funds that support projects at all stages,” explains Aurélie Angebault, director of Vivement Lundi. “Recently, Breton support funds have been restructured to remain competitive, to be able to grow and accommodate new projects. They don’t just help productions to help the sector; they seek to develop sustainable structures in the region.

As the Breton funds were restructured, others were created from scratch, particularly in the aftermath of an administrative campaign in 2016 aimed at reducing and consolidating the number of regions in the country. Among its other benefits, administrative restructuring pooled and merged disparate support funds, thereby increasing their overall impact while broadening their reach.

For producers across the country, these supports have helped them expand their workforce – while helping new graduates of skills training programs across the country integrate more quickly into the industry.

“Regions with stagnant sectors are looking to renew themselves by bringing in young professionals who are highly qualified and ready to settle,” says Angebault. “The average age of a person working in our studio is 25 years old. These are people who need a certain quality of life, who are looking for it. This is something that the decentralization campaign is proposing.

“The question of the quality of life and the ability to develop and expand in a city with lower real estate costs than in Paris [is extremely important]», Adds Camille Serceau, director of Superprod. “I’m happy to be based in Angoulême and not in Paris.

Indeed, while projects like “Me and My Compost” may initially benefit from development funds in one part of the country, they may later be driven by production by highly skilled labor in another. Angoulême, for example, has become famous for its animation and post-production infrastructure, boasting over 30 animation studios and nearly twice as many digital and multimedia equipment, many of which lacked the body of audiovisual development of the city, Magelis.

“Magelis is very present and stays abreast of all the studios and productions in progress,” explains Serceau. “These agencies talk to each other, find out how to distribute the work between the regions, ensuring that it is fair. It’s not just producers who are leading the way.

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