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Flanders will be the guest of honour at this year’s edition of Cartoon Movie (8-10 March), Europe’s prime pitching and co-production platform for animated features. Some 10 animation producers from Flanders will present themselves during the event as the ‘Flandriens of Animation’. Three Flemish projects and five co-productions from Flanders will also be pitched at Cartoon Movie.
In total, 55 European projects have been invited to Cartoon Movie, which is being held in the city of Bordeaux this year. The event puts the spotlight on a specific region for the first time, with Flanders being granted the honours for this inaugural edition. Over the years, Flemish animation producers have played an important role in international co-productions, contributing to Oscar-nominated films such as The Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of Kells and A Cat in Paris. Flanders also has a strong record at Cartoon Movie, with companies like Grid Animation, Walking The Dog, nWave Pictures and Vivi Film all collecting Cartoon Movie Tributes as Producers of the Year.
Cloudboy, Meikeminne Clinckspoor’s feature debut, is to receive its international première at this year’s TIFF Kids (7-23 April). The programme also contains Emiel Sandtke’s short Flying Rats, as well as two co-productions: The Day My Father Became a Bush and the animated feature Richard the Stork.
In Cloudboy, 12-year-old city boy Niilas has to travel - much against his will - to Lapland where his mother and her new family live amongst the Sami, an indigenous reindeer-herding people. A Belgian-Swedish-Norwegian-Dutch co-production, Cloudboy won last year’s Work-in-Progress Award at the inaugural edition of NeXT in Ghent.
Juanita Onzaga’s documentary short The Jungle Knows You Better Than You Do has been selected for the Generation 14plus Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival (9-19 February). The animated feature Richard the Stork, which was co-produced with Flanders, also premiers in the Generation section.
Juanita Onzaga’s film, a cross between documentary and fiction, is set in Colombia, a country portrayed as a land of ghosts. The filmmaker follows her brother Pablo deep into the jungle in search of the spirit of their dead father. There, they uncover truths and attract unexpected company.
Belgian director Wouter Bouvijn has been invited to the Arc 1950 Co-Production Village in Les Arcs where he will pitch his upcoming debut feature Escape. The festival has also announced its full line-up, which includes the animated short Catherine as well as some co-productions with Flanders. As previously announced, Fien Troch’s Home and Brosens and Woodworths’ King of the Belgians will also screen in Les Arcs.
Over three days, the Co-Production Village presents a selection of 20 European feature films in development to professionals interested in a financial or production participation. Among those invited this year is Wouter Bouvijn (Crossroads), who is currently preparing his debut feature Escape (fka (F)light).
Kenneth Mercken’s short film Feel Sad for the Bunny has been selected for the Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico, where it is to have its international premiere as part of the Oscar-qualifying Short Film Competition. The festival line-up also includes D: 729., an animated short by Levi Stoops; and Johan Grimonprez’s documentary Shadow World, which was co-produced with Flanders.
Feel Sad For the Bunny follows 12-year-old Remy who lives with his older brother Bruno and their au pair, Mihaela. Despite the age difference, Remy has a secret crush on Mihaela. But things threaten to explode between the brothers when Bruno also takes an interest in her.
Animation projects from Flanders will take centre stage during the first edition of the Flanders Animation Focus at this year’s International Animation Film Festival in Annecy. On 17 June, 11 Flemish producers will pitch their upcoming animation features and series to potential co-producers and buyers. The initiative reflects the ambition of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) to stimulate the production and international promotion of animation from Flanders.
The Flanders region boasts a wide variety of high-end animation studios and creative talent, resulting over the past few years in various nominations and prizes abroad. During the Flanders Animation Focus, 11 projects, both animation features and series, will be presented to potential co-producers, co-financers, buyers and distributors.
Sum of Histories, directed by Lukas Bossuyt, and Pieter-Jan De Pue’s The Land of the Enlightened both received their Asian premiere at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, which ended on 4 April. The programme also included four co-productions with Flanders: Schneider vs Bax, The White Knights, Les Cowboys and the short film Splintertime. Finally, Flemish actor Jan Bijvoet was also featured in Embrace of the Serpent, in which he plays one of the main roles.
Lukas Bossuyt’s directorial debut Sum of Histories received its Asian premiere at the Hong Kong Film Festival after premiering at the Montreal World Film Festival last summer. It is the story of Viktor, a brilliant young professor who discovers a way to manipulate time. Now he can finally change the past and help his beloved Lena.
Jan Bultheel’s animated feature Cafard has won the Grand Prize for Best Animation Feature at the 19th edition of the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht (HAFF, 16-20 March).
“Cafard is an atypical animation feature in many ways”, says director Jan Bultheel, “so winning the Grand Prize at the Holland Animation Film Festival is a real victory. Now, we want to convince the rest of the world of the film’s potential.”
Pieter Coudyzer’s latest animation short Beast! has been selected for the Annecy International Animation Film Festival (13 – 18 June) in France. The programme also includes the absurdist comedy Three Little Ninjas Delivery Service; student film Mahonie; and A Town Called Panic: Back to School, which was co-produced with Flanders.
The animated short Beast! by Pieter Coudyzer, a production by S.O.I.L., is part of the official Short Film Competition. The 20-minute film shows how the lonely existence of a scruffy homeless man is transformed by the arrival of a very unexpected visitor. It’s not the first time that Coudyzer has been to Annecy: his last short The Wake screened there in 2013.
Flemish animation studio Grid Animation has been awarded the prize for European Producer of the Year at the Cartoon Movie Tributes, an award they share with the co-producers of the animated feature Ooops! Noah is Gone…. The Cartoon Movie Tributes reward outstanding achievements by companies and individuals in the field of animation.
Each year, the Cartoon Movie Tributes are handed out in three categories: Director; Distributor; and Producer of the Year. Grid Animation took home the latter award, together with Ulysses Filmproduktion, Fabrique d’Images and Moetion Films, respectively the German, Luxembourg and Irish co-producers of Ooops! Noah Is Gone…