More than 75 pitches flooded the floors of Toulouse’s congress building this week at Cartoon Forum, Europe’s premier animated tv series pitching event.
The diverse set of projects pitched to European broadcasters, distributors, and potential partners was plentiful, so we narrowed down a second group of five pitches that deserve the spotlight.
Check out our first set of pitch reviews here.
B.A.D’s Agents: The Pigeon Conspiracy
Audience: Young Adults
Episodes: 10 x 20 min
If the title B.A.D’s Agents: The Pigeon Conspiracy sounds extremely silly, you already understand the show’s intentions. In it, we follow two beautifully dim-witted agents of B.A.D – Bureau of Archived Documents – sitting at the bottom of the pyramid of French intelligence services. When an older woman is reported missing, the two uncover a conspiracy far above their pay grade. The show takes inspiration from viral satirical American conspiracy theories, primarily the “conspiracy” that birds aren’t real. In the show’s covert world, pigeons form a secret society that surveys human conversations and poses as important figures across the globe.
B.A.D’s Agents superimposes 2d characters over live-action footage in some scenes and wholly animated backgrounds in others. The discrepancy demonstrates the public’s ignorance of the conspiracy, which the protagonists uncover over time, adding another layer to the uncanny and offbeat comedic sensibility. Inspired by The X-Files and Men In Black, B.A.D’s Agents promises a harmonious balance between intense action and comedy.
Studio: Perpetual Soup
Audience: Young Adults/ Adults
Episodes: 10 x 26 min
Blended 2d and 3d animation analogizes the class system with the food chain of underwater life. Whales sit at the top, as they can eat anything else in the ocean. This makes romantic relationships between whales and other sea creatures taboo, but the show’s protagonist, Molly, decides to ignore that convention.
The story picks up as a half-whale, half-seahorse child announces her existence on the news. The presence of the hybrid child raises questions about where it sits on the food chain, calling into question the entire social structure of the ocean.
Alongside the show’s moral quandary, the standout virtues of Molly’s Blues are its stunning background work and experimental character animation. Characters talk and move like paper cut-outs but have hand-drawn and cg accents, which add to their textures. The animation’s off-kilter nature reveals the ugliness hiding beneath the surface of a morally grey cast of characters.
Audience: Kids 7+/ Families
Episodes: 8 x 22 min
It’s difficult not to be pulled in by the visual style of Heroic Football. The limbs of the characters all seem to exist perpendicular to each other, color pours from every object in every frame, 2d elements burst from the cg models, and its anime inspiration fits like a glove in the dystopian setting. As the show unspools, the audience follows two football-obsessed teens who will need to harness their balling talents to save Pangéa from oversized, ugly monsters.
The concept is deliberately ridiculous and acts as a vehicle for grand set-pieces, sweeping camera movements, and world-saving stakes. Bombastic and dynamic, Heroic Football stands out among the most action-packed pitches of this year’s Cartoon Forum.
Granny and Grandpa’s Revolutionary Roads
Studio: Les Films du Tambour de Soie & WeJustKids
Episodes: 8 x 8 min
Granny and Grandpa’s Revolutionary Roads has the unique distinction of being the only documentary pitched at Cartoon Forum this year. Its existence is a testament to the ability of animation to not only tell any story but to enhance it. The gorgeous painted watercolor landscapes are malleable and silky as they move from frame to frame, allowing them to express the passage of large swaths of time across eight stories.
The tales of Maoist leaders and members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are told through delicate, beautiful, and sometimes gut-churning images. Each episode is framed by a character talking to their grandchild about their days as a revolutionary. These true documentations span between 1967 and 1995 and follow Middle Eastern revolutionaries who helped shape the region. Granny and Grandpa’s Revolutionary Roads will expand minds in its expression of how political power can rest on an individual.
Audience: Anybody 6+
Episodes: 6 x 12 min
Few pitches at Cartoon Forum possessed as much heart as Exit Tales. The experience of becoming a refugee is shown through children’s eyes in a way only possible in animation. Exit Tales puts us inside a child’s classroom drawing as we journey through their interpretation of the experience of being forced to move abroad. Gut-wrenching emotion is communicated through rustic, innocent drawings, a dichotomy breeding devastation that only an expert in their craft can create.
Exit Tales is an anthology series, each episode telling a different child’s story. Narratives are delivered from the perspectives of children from Venezuela, Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Guatemala, showing the common struggles of refugees while also being specific to these kids’ interpretation of something so political and complex.