Production of animated feature films in Europe is at an all-time high, according to a study of the industry published by Cartoon, the European animation association.

Some 34 films are currently in production or about to be released in cinemas, according to the report. This compares with 56 animated films being released between 1997 and 2001 and 182 full-length animated films produced and released in Europe between 1926 and 2001.

New or imminent releases of European animated features include: Corto Maltese Et La Cour Secrète Des Arcanes, Les Triplettes De Belleville, Les Enfants De La Pluie (France); Karlsson Pa Taket (Germany/Norway/Sweden); Johan Padan A La Descoverta De Le Americhe (Italy); and Otherworld (UK)

However, the reality is that admissions are dominated by non-European films, largely from the USA and Japan. Between 1997 and 2001, 99 animated features from around the world were released in Europe - with European features taking an average share of admissions of just 14%. The only countries to record an above average share for European features in this period were Germany (26%), Denmark (19%) and Sweden (13%).

A series of films have demonstrated that there is a market for European animated films by dominating at their national box office: La Gabbianella E Il Gatto in Italy, Kirikou in France, The Little Polar Bear (Der Kleine Eisbar) in Germany, Help! I'm a Fish in Denmark.

A wide range of funding and support schemes available to producers at European and national level have helped increase the number of features being produced. With backing from bodies like the CNC in France, the regional funding schemes in Germany, or the Film Council in the UK, producers are able to raise as much as 50% of their budget from their home markets alone.

Cartoon, the European association involved since 1989 in the development of the animation industry, is behind the Cartoon Movie market. The next Cartoon Movie will be held from 13 to 15 March 2003. The animation report was written by Tim Westcott, a journalist and consultant.