Irish animator Tomm Moore who directed Berlinale offering Brendan and The Secret Of Kells, French distributor Bac Films and the production team behind Niko & The Way To The Stars are among the finalists nominated for this year's Cartoon Movie Tributes.

Cartoon Movie Tributes rewards companies and personalities who have contributed to the development of European animation over the last year.

The winners will be selected by the participants attending the Cartoon Movie financing market which will be held for the first time in France's Lyon from March 4-6.

This year's Cartoon Movie will open on March 4 with a screening of A. Film's unconventional CGI animation Journey To Saturn and present pitches of 49 animation feature projects to potential partners.

Once again, France leads the field as the producer or co-producer of 26 projects, followed by Germany and Belgium with six each. The films, including completed projects and those in development, come from 16 European countries and have a total estimated budget of $398m (Euros 312m).

The three-day event, which brings together 500 producers, investors and distributors of animation features from across Europe, will also present screenings of such completed films as past Cartoon Movie projects Sunshine Barry & The Disco Worms and The Secret Of Kells which had its world premiere at the Berlinale's Generation Kplus section this month.

2009 Cartoon Movie Tributes nominations:

Best European director of the year

Thorbjorn Christoffersen, Craig Frank and Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen (Denmark) for Journey To Saturn

Jacques-Remy Girerd (France) for Mia And The Migoo

Tomm Moore (Ireland) for The Secret Of Kells

Best European distributor of the year

BAC Films (France)

Intersonic (Slovak Republic)

Lusomundo (Portugal)

Best European producer of the year

Anima Vitae / Cinemaker (Finland) / Ulysses (Germany) / A. Film (Denmark) / Magma Films (Ireland) for Niko & The Way To The Stars

Crone Film (Denmark) / Sola Media (Germany) for Sunshine Barry And The Disco Worms

Kandor Graphics / Perro Verde Films / Green Moon (Spain) for The Missing Lynx

Cartoon Saloon (Ireland) / Les Armateurs (France) / Vivi Film (Belgium) for The Secret Of Kells