The 27th edition of Cartoons On The Bay – International Festival of Animation, Transmedia and Meta-Arts” kicked off today in Pescara, Abruzzo Region, Italy. "This edition will present approx. 350 works in competition from over 50 territories. Delegates will arrive from the industry of gaming, meta verse and social for a common challenge with the animation professionals and continue on the only possible path that already in 2009, year of my first COTB edition, we drew as the scenario of the near future: convergence of languages and content and trans media," said Roberto Genovesi, Artistic Director of the event, in a previous interview with Señal News.
At the beginning of the Festival, the 2023 Pulcinella Awards Juries were announced. The international Jury is composed by Marco Lanzarone (Head of Rai Radio Kids), Alain Bidard (Director), Arne Lohmann (Vice President Junior, ZDF Studios), Ian Mackinnon (Creative Director / Executive Producer and Founder, Mackinnon & Saunders Ltd.), Alessia Di Giacomo (Platforms and Channels Director, RTVE Corporación), while the Feature Films are judged by Flavio Natalia (Editor in Chief, Ciak), Max Giovagnoli (Director, Festival Heroes), Pedro Armocida (Director, Mostra Internazionale del Nuovo Cinema).
As Italian event, COTB highlighted “The Power of Made-In-Italy In The Global Industry” with the testimony of Anne Sophie Vanhollebeke, producer at Studio Campedelli, who mentioned that in the last 10 years Italian animation did not represent the concept of Made in Italy as it does today. “Some time ago we had to work with Asian companies and before, students had to go abroad to study and train, and this has changed. At present, we multiply by five the people who are working in the sector and this could be done thanks to the alliances that have been made with international partners because Rai could not do it alone and now we must think about how to increase this concept of 'Made in Italy' internationally and 'Zerocalcare' is an example to follow.”
Pietro Pinetti, CEO at Studio Bozzetto, stated that the company always aims to invest in the country. The executive gave the series "Tip The Mouse" as an example, which was distributed in 140 countries, but mentioned that the series was produced in the first period of the tax credit and financial aid and that the creative group that developed it could not be given continuity. Currently the company joined Movimenti Production and "this increased the credibility of our products and improved the vision of Italy as the ideal partner in an international co-production." In the same panel, Pedro Citaristi, CEO at Red Monk, said that lately they have been investing in infrastructure with a new studio in Milan where 80 animators work and the company also invests a lot in training with schools to create professionalism in Italy and not have to go abroad, so that animation students can train. To illustrate these ideas, Citaristi mentioned the productions they made from Red Monk and that attracted foreign partners, such as “Spirit Rangers” for Netflix, but "we also create original and live action productions such as 'Home Sweet Rome', which was filmed in Rome and represents a way to export the beauty of Italy abroad. It is a series that was born in Italy, produced in Italy and will be exported to the market international."
On the other hand, Giorgio Scorza, CEO & Creative Director at Movimenti Production, pointed out that "Made in Italy" means making projects in Italy, exporting Italian creativity and Italian storytelling, and "animation is a great advantage we have to do this,"he said. "We must export Italian IPs abroad and also our Italian producers and executive producers must be trained for the needs of the international market." Movimenti Production is behind the hit animation "Zerocalcare" whose second season will be released on Netflix. The company is working on the second season of "Topo Gigio", a 100% Italian property that has travelled around the world. "Now we are doing a great series with Rai, ZDF and BCC and we will do 95% of the production," he said. Finally, Francesco Manfio, the General Manager at Gruppo Alcuni pointed out two aspects of the "Made in Italy" concept, the first is the taste of Made in Italy, "it is something beautiful, curated and I would like this idea to also go into cartoons", he said. The second aspect mentioned by Manfio is the Italian law that talks about what Made in Italy has to be, designed and made in and for Italy. The General Manager at Gruppo Alcuni pointed out that if foreign companies want to acquire Italian companies they can do so without problem, while on the contrary it cannot be done. "It's a competition problem," he said.
In the second part of the day, Enrico Martinis and Victor Herreruela from Ibermedia talked about a new fund called Ibermedia Next for production companies from Italy, Spain and Portugal who want to co-produce with Latin America. "This fund promotes the creation of new collaborations in the animation market and promotes projects that use new technology in the creation of digital animation," they commented. "The objectives of this new fund seek to support the new generations of creators and promote a strategic creative sector with great potential to reach a global audience and to consolidate an industry with a future perspective," they added. The fund provides for a financial contribution of up to 150,000 euros per project, in addition to an ad hoc training, promotion or outreach program for companies and professionals who guide the project of 95,000 euros.
On the other hand, Marino Guarnieri and Valentina Mazzola, President Vice President of ASIFA (Associazione Italiana Film D'Animazione) correspondingly, announced the results of the 2023 Animation census. The census was done on 10% of the total, which would be approximately 10 thousand people who work in the sector. "Many people who work in animation come from the Lombardy region and secondly from Tuscany, and these people work mostly in animated series, then feature films, then advertising, the web, video games, music videos , promotion of the sector and animation production," said Guarnieri.
The day finalized with the announcement of the winners of the PITCH ME! contest. Third place went to "Il regufio per fantasmi de Spectris", while second place was chosen for the web series "Racconti dallo Stream" and first place went to "No Pets!". All were honored with prizes from Wacom and ToonBoom, sponsors of Cartoons on the Bay.
By Romina Rodriguez from Pescara