Musketeers of the Czar. Musketeers of the Czar.

Now in its 21st year, Cartoon Movie has become an indispensable event for European creators trying to develop, finance, or find distribution for animated features. The event, which will take place in Bordeaux, France next week, connects film producers looking for resources and homes for their projects with investors and distributors from around Europe.

This year 66 projects will be presented, and the organizers expect 900 industry participants from 41 countries, among which will be 265 buyers. There is no doubt that Cartoon Movie is a crucial stop for the viability and success of many European animated features, which use a co-production model to amass their budgets.

At Cartoon Movie, films can be presented at three distinct stages: concept, development, and production. So no matter how early in its journey the project is, it can find support and opportunities there. Pitching sessions are the core of the event. Each film’s producers and artistic team have between 10 and 30 minutes (depending on which stage they are at) to engage with potential partners and share their vision.

Some notable features that have participated at Cartoon Movie in past years include Ernest & Celestine, The Triplets of Belleville, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Shaun the Sheep, My Life as a Zucchini, and The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales.

Here’s a look at just a few of the promising films from the long list of participating projects:

Savages!


France’s Prélude and Switzerland’s Helium Films are producing Claude Barras’ (My Life as a Zucchini) new stop motion feature. Once again tackling intellectually complex topics, Barras’ latest deals with poaching and environmental conservation.

Kéria (11), a vivid indigenous girl, finds an orphaned baby orang-outan, Oshi in the jungle of Borneo. To keep him safe she brings him to a close-by reserve. But her ambitious father, working as a woodsman, cooperates with a poacher in order to steal the baby. Oshi should be a present to his company’s director. Kéria flees her home with Oshi in search of the protective wooded mountains. She tries to reunite with her beloved grandfather, one of the last hunter-gatherers. But the journey is filled with obstacles. Kéria finally needs to understand, the only way for Oshi to survive in the wilderness, is letting him go. Savages! is the story of a friendship larger than life.

Tales of the Hedgehog


Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, the directing duo behind A Cat in Paris and Phantom Boy, are working on a new 2d feature about France’s economic instability from the perspective of children. The film is being produced by Parmi les Lucioles Films.

The world of 10-year old Nina has been in turmoil since her father lost his job. Despite weeks of strike, his factory closed down. The manager had tampered with the accounts and precipitated its collapse. But rumor has it that a nest-egg remains hidden somewhere in the factory. Nina and her friend Mehdi spring into action to help Nina’s dad out. This tale of our times, which is also a coming-of-age story, stages the interaction between the concerns of children and those of adults.

Chicken for Linda!

Coming off of the masterful one-person feature The Girl Without Hands,, director Sébastien Laudenbach teams up with filmmaker (and spouse) Chiara Malta for Chicken for Linda!, a comedic children’s film produced by France’s Dolce Vita Films.

Paulette has scolded her daughter Linda unjustly. To make up for it, she promises to cook her some chicken with peppers, her dead dad’s favorite dish. But how do you buy chicken on the day of a general strike? All the shops are closed. So you go to a farm in the country and persuade the farmer’s wife to sell you a bird. Then, on the drive home, you have to explain to a policeman what a live chicken is doing in your car. In the meantime, the chicken jumps out and runs off. What follows is a frantic chase: Paulette after the chicken, the policeman after Paulette, then others including a truck driver allergic to chicken feathers and other zealous cops along with every kid in the neighborhood!

Where is Anne Frank?


Israeli director Ari Folman’s first project since 2013’s hybrid feature The Congress departs from Anne Frank’s seminal book The Diary of A Young Girl, and tells the story of the author’s imaginary friend searching for her. Mixing 2d and stop-motion animation, the project is a collective undertaking being produced by Purple Whale Films (Belgium), Doghouse Films (Luxembourg), Bridgit Folman Film Gang (Israel), Samsa Film (Luxembourg), Le Pacte (France), Submarine Animation (Netherlands), and Walking the Dog (Belgium).

In a year from today, Kitty, Anne Frank’s imaginary friend, the one that Anne devoted her entire diary to, magically comes to life at the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. She believes that if she’s alive, Anne must be alive as well. She sets out on a relentless quest to find Anne.

Kiki


Peter Dodd, who served as animation director for the late Roger Mainwood’s film Ethel & Ernest, is directing this 2d period piece for the U.K.’s Lupus Films about a young woman finding her tribe and falling in love in post-war Paris.

Alice Prin is big-hearted but tempestuous, and falls on hard times in postwar Paris after knocking out her boss in a flash of temper. Her luck changes when she falls in with a band of artists and becomes the most popular and lively of models, and with success and notoriety transforms herself into Kiki. After initial misadventures in love, she meets photographer Man Ray, an American in Paris, and becomes his subject and lover for 6 heady and stormy years. She appears in iconic photographs, Dada films, nightclubs and parties, affections and beds, brawls and prison to become Queen of Montparnasse just as their relationship crashes, along with Wall Street, and the era comes to an end.

Musketeers of the Tsar
Musketeers of the Czar.

Musketeers of the Tsar marks the first cg feature by twins Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi, who have had long animation careers on both sides of the Atlantic and are perhaps best known for directing “The Firebird Suite” sequence of Fantasia 2000. Currently in production, Musketeers is a co-production between Est Ouest Films (France), Walking The Dog (Belgium), and Kinoatis (Russia).

As Russia is beset by internal strife and power struggles, Grigori the bear, chief of the army of the young Tsar Peter I, travels to Versailles with his young daughter Dashen’ka, an apprentice magician, to meet with Louis XIV and seal an alliance with France, bringing back reinforcements and his goddaughter Princess Agnès who is to be married to Peter. Grigori must also find Lefort the cat and Gordon the dog, former comrades-in-arms, and convince them to form a Musketeers Guard to.defend the Empire. Dashenka’s plan is to go to Mont Saint-Michel and find there a relic which belonged to Archangel Michael and she wants to bring back to Russia…

No Dogs or Italians Allowed


Co-produced by Les Films du Tambour de Soie (France), Vivement Lundi! (France), Foliascope (France), Graffiti Doc (Italy) and Nadasdy Film (Switzerland), it’s the second feature by Alain Ughetto, following 2013’s autobiographical Jasmine. No Dogs or Italians Allowed an adult-oriented, stop-motion project honoring the large number of Italian nationals who migrated elsewhere in hopes of a better future.

Luigi and his brothers set out from their native village in the Piedmont, off to discover “La Merica”, the fabulous land where dollars grow on trees. Finally, instead of crossing the Atlantic, Luigi puts his backpack down in southern France, with hands that could no longer work a depleted and stinting soil, he built our roads, bridges, and dams. Luigi was my grandfather, a dashing man with a romantic destiny. He fought two wars, poverty, and fascism. At last he met Cesira and founded a family, who cheered for the Tour de France and waltzed to Yvette Horner’s accordion. But his story is above all that of hundreds of thousands of Italian immigrants who left their homeland to settle elsewhere.

Terra Willy
Entirely produced in France, this cg animated sci-fi adventure is the latest from Eric Tosti, the writer-director in charge of the French film series The Jungle Bunch: To the Rescue. TAT productions, BAC Films, Logical Pictures, France 3 Cinéma, and Master Films are behind the production.

Following the destruction of their ship, young Willy is separated from his parents with whom he traveled through space. His rescue capsule lands on a wild and unexplored planet. With the help of Buck, a survival robot, he will have to hold on until the arrival of a rescue mission. Meanwhile, Willy, Buck and Flash, an alien creature which they befriended, are discovering the planet, its fauna, its flora…but also its dangers.

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