Michael Dudok de Wit's animated short Father And Daughter was presented with this year's Euro25,000 Cartoon d'Or at the 12th Cartoon Forum co-production market (September 19-22) which was held in the Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2001. Next year's Forum will be hosted by the region of Snowdonia, Wales.
De Wit's short, which had previously won prizes at animation festivals in Utrecht, Brussels and Espinha, was produced by UK production company Cloudrunner and Cinete Filmproductie in the Netherlands. The other four films which had been competing for the Cartoon d'Or were Au Premier Dimanche D'Aout by Florence Miailhe, (France), Chicken Kiev by Thomas Stellmach (Germany), Lovebirds by Trylle Vilstrup (Denmark), and Ring Of Fire by Andreas Hykade (Germany).
This year's Cartoon Forum saw a record participation of over 700 delegates, up 20% on the2000 event in Sweden's Gotland, meeting to have 88 projects pitched for animation TV series or web-based productions.
The growing importance of the German market within the European animation scene was clearly borne out by the fact that over240 participants were accredited from Germany, including 60 investors, and Germany was involved in 18 of the projects pitched at the Forum as a lead producer, while another 17 projects had German companies as financial partners or co-producers.
In a discussion on the state of German animation, which revealed that Germany is the second largest European market with a programme volume of $130m, TV Loonland's CEO Peter Voelkle noted, however, that, despite the enormous market potential in Germany, animation productions were as a rule under-financed. In comparison to other European states, the TV stations still invested much too little in animation films, and he argued that the German animation studios' competitiveness would have to be guaranteed in the future if people were really interested in the establishment of a functioning industry.
Klaus Schaefer, president of the local public film fund FFF Bayern and one of the sponsors of this year's Cartoon Forum, agreed that the large sums raised through private funds had not benefited the domestic film production to any great extent, let alone animation, since most of these tax shelter monies flowed into the slates of US major studios. His institution, though, had invested around $6.5m (DM14m) over the last five years in animation projects such as The Fearless Four, Help Me I'm A Fish and Pettson & Findus
"In many cases, animation can be more successful than live action films because it can get distribution not only nationally but also internationally", Schaefer declared, "animation also has access to many more distribution channels than live action and there is a real international demand for animation films".