TREBON: Two French heavy hitters addressed participants at the CEE Animation Forum (6-8 May 2018) about the hard facts of selling animated films from CEE territories to international distributors. It’s hard enough for a film from CEE territories to be picked up for international distribution. Animated films, and especially animated shorts, have an even harder time. But there are some bright spots.
Neither Wild Bunch nor BAC Films had an animated film from CEE territories on their line-up, but their presence at the CEE Animation Forum indicated a willingness to consider the possibility.
Alexis Hoffman of BAC Films said the company prefers to look for first and second films and seeks out films in development. BAC paid 100,000 EUR for all French rights for an animation film. Marie Pierre Valle of Wild Bunch said she prefers to get involved with a project in the script stage and also acquires some debut features. Wild Bunch will offer an MG of 10 - 20 %.
Animated short films have not fared well in the market in recent year, but there is still a route toward cinema distribution. In France, it’s possible to get a theatrical release for a 45-minute package of animated films for kids in the 3-6 age range. Katarina Kerekesova of the Slovak animation company Fool Moon did that with her Mimi and Lisa series. She created a Christmas special short and packaged it as part of a 45-minute programme, racking up 100,000 admissions in France. Kerekesova said she is now developing a second TV special and putting it together in a three-film package for French distribution through sales agent Planet Nemo. In the past, Planet Nemo also acquired Fool Moon’s The Websters series, as well as the Czech animated feature Harvie and the Magic Museum directed by Martin Kotik and produced by Rolling Pictures.
Venice Film Festival's short film advisor Enrico Vannucci founded Varicoloured, which specialises in short film distribution, in 2018. Vannucci told FNE, “We try to do both festivals and sales. For festivals, it’s a service for the client. We work on a 2-year flat fee structure. For short filmmakers, prizes at festivals are also a source of earning money on films.” He added, “For sales, in most advanced countries, such as France or Germany, you have TV and festivals, VOD and cinema release. Other countries may not have cinema release, but TV and VOD are still platforms for sales of short films.” One bright spot for short film distribution recently opened up. “Swiss Air now has a ‘flying film festival’ where they screen short films,” Vannucci said.