Just days before this year's Cartoon Forum financing market is held in the south-west German town of Ludwigsburg from Sept 16, Brussels-based CARTOON has announced that its annual market for animation feature films, Cartoon Movie, is leaving its venue of 10 years at Potsdam's Babelsberg Studios to be held in France's Lyon.

The move is effective from March 2009.

According to CARTOON, France has become the European leader in the animation market and will help strengthen the Rhone-Alps region's cinema market, and in particular in animation.

Indeed, Cartoon Movie - which is to be held from March 4-6, 2009 - will become the third axis of a triangle including Annecy's CITIA and the La Cartoucherie centre near Valence.

The Cartoon Movie market was first held in Babelsberg in 1999 with local support over the years from Medienboard/Filmboard Berlin-Brandenburg and the State of Brandenburg's Ministry of Economic Affairs as well as Mitteldeutsche Medienfoerderung and the German Federal Film Board (FFA).

The market's departure from Germany will further shake the confidence of the German animation sector which has recently been going through something of a crisis at the local box office with films such as Kleiner Dodo ($3.6m/Euros 2.6m) and Urmel Voll In Fahrt ($2.5m/Euros 1.8m) performing with disappointing results.