Just one year after its debut, the MIA | Animation Co-Production Market and Pitching Forum has achieved great results, selecting 15 projects coming from 24 countries. The submissions received have been carefully reviewed and evaluated, and the final selection signed off by the external Selection Committee composed by Cecilia Padula VP Head Kids & Family Brands South Europe, Middle East & Africa at Paramount (Italy); David Levine CEO of Lightboat Media Ltd (UK); Matthieu Darras CEO of Tatino Film (France); Mounia Aram, Founder & Distributor of MA Company (France/ Morocco); and Yago Fandiño, Head of Children’s Content at RTVE and Director of Clan TV (Spain).
The selection comprises 9 TV Series, 3 Feature Films and 3 TV Specials (one-off), mixing projects debuting on the market with projects already disclosed which nevertheless have demonstrated a solid progression in development, ready to be presented to financial institutions and partners in order of approaching the production phase. Over the fifteen projects described below it can be noted also a very strong female and/or diverse-led presence, in terms of both creators, narrative and countries of origin, commercial and artsy pieces: a collection for all palates.
A stand out from the authorial European panorama, the award-winning director, writer and producer Anca Damian (Aparte Film) with MOTHERHOOD, a poetic journey into female body and desire which pairs and entrusts its representation to the surreal visual world of the Italian artist, illustrator and animator Virginia Mori, co-produced by Miyu. On her way to her first feature, director and animator Angela Conigliaro (Dragonara) lands on the half-an-hour format with THE STORM, an animated 2D piece telling the story of two childrens’ friendship against the backdrop of a war situation that quickly also move inside their own families; as happened for Angela’s latest short film, beQ Entertainment (with RAI Kids) head the production.The latest selected TV one-off project comes from the award-winning Egyptian studio Giraffics, which recently produced the Stardust episode included in the anthology series Kizazi Moto: THE PREY is a visually compelling story of a domestic falcon whose privileged and secured lifestyle is threatened – but is freedom perhaps ahead?
From Ghanaian based company Afrootoon and creative-team composed by Ama Adi-Dako, Ronaldo Cameron and Esther Ohrt the feature film DRUMLAND presents a colorful kaleidoscope of characters surrounding the twins Afua and Kofi on a journey to reverse the cruel spell of a malicious wizard’s, in a magical world where drumming has always some consequences. Themes of acceptance, friendship, self-discovery and identity connect the storylines of the other two animated features in the selection. From award-winning director and artist Magdalena Osińska – who most recently directed Lucas Film’s eagerly anticipated second instalment of Star Wars: Visions series – comes RO, intimate feature puppet animation, a joint production effort by ANIMOON and Les Film du Cygne; from Mexico, filmmaker Karen Viajera debuts in feature with the project THE LAST WAVE, a 2D animated piece where four anthropomorphic characters, three fish-like and one avocado, embark on a surreal journey on the Mexican Pacific coast to escape their day-to-day life.
The creativity on television series is widely represented through the nine selected pieces presenting a wide range of target audiences. Food is under the spotlight with the comprehension of flavours and their combination explored with the help of delicacy-characters and music in TASTE BUDDIES – created by finnish director Veronica Lassenius, produced by Pikkukala; Compelling design and adventurous with an educational twist storytelling marks the story of MIA MOKÉ created by the Béquer brothers and produced by the French Special Touch; Mia, a 10 year old girl living with her best pals Kouko and Diko in an African village, is destined to fight to protect the Marine Area against the toxic discharges of a newly-created factory. The struggle between modernity and ancient special worlds, and the learning how to fit to them, is also at the heart of the absurd comedy series about the 12 year old RUBHARIAN – developed by Copenhagen-Bombay – who moves to the ancient metropolis Weinlos and must learn its new ways; and a similar themes are referred to the royal palace stories about the mischievous behaviour of the little Prince MINIRAJA, produced by MondoTV. Animal lovers will be assured of their fair share of fun, thanks to the story of two pugs’ mighty power of sisterhood against an evergreen enemy, a persian cat named Balthazar traveling in the magical world of THE ODD ADVENTURES OF NINJA & BIBBY created by Polish filmmaker Piotr Różycki for Laniakea Pictures; and in the world of TOINK!, inhabited in peace by a lot of bizarre creatures, until some odd animals start appearing: a giraffe with a long neck, a hedgehog with spines, a sheep full of wool… What’s normal? And what’s different? What do these two words even mean? A series from Belgium and Netherlands written by Bert Lesaffer and Director An Vrombaut. Diversity also comes all the way from South Africa, where Olive, a young trollish girl, finds herself abandoned in a human village at the edge of the Empire: Cape-Town based artist, animator and creator Kay Carmicheal gives life to TROLL GIRL, who have to outcome perils, gain the trust and confidence of those skeptical human being, try to control her powers and ultimately, how to be a girl.
The selection couldn’t miss the young-adult segment: portraying the travails of a group of nerdy teens being sent to programs for smart kids, HIGHLY GIFTED is a coming-of-age series tackling topics such as gender, sexuality and politics. The semi-autobiographical series created by Jeremy and Daniel Leher, “The Leher Brothers” lands now on television for Europe produced by Moonrise Pictures, was originally commissioned by Snapchat and aired weekly with a huge success, cast included pop-icon and singer Kesha, actor Drake Bell, comedian Ron Funches, Oscar-winner Nat Faxon, actor Josh Brener and comedian Jamie Curry. Debuting on the market, the unexpected superheroines DORIS & BETTY are two retired working class women who have mistakenly been granted super powers, and therefore they have been called to fulfil their responsibility towards the world from the SUC (Superpower United Cooperation). Adapted from Doris & Bettan Strikes, a fanzine and characters created by Ellen Ekman, the series is brought to the market from Scandinavian power-house Nordisk Film Production, promises to be bold, humorous and highly entertaining.
ANIMATION PITCHING FORUM | OFFICIAL SELECTION 2023
DORIS & BETTY (Sweden)
Produced by Anna Warfvinge (Nordisk Film Production)
DRUMLAND by Ama Adi-Dako (Ghana)
Produced by Ronaldo Cameron (Afrotoons)
HIGHLY GIFTED by Jeremy and Daniel Lehrer (Spain/ USA)
Produced by Michael Kaufman (Moonrise Pictures)
MIA MOKÉ by Jérémie Becquer and Julien Becquer (France/ Senegal/ Cameroon/ Luxembourg)
Produced by Sébastien Onomo (Special Touch Studios)
Produced by Maria Bonaria Fois (Mondo TV Studios)
MOTHERHOOD by Anca Damian (Romania/ France)
Produced by Anca Damian (Aparte Film), Emmanuel Alain Raynal (Miyu Production)
Produced by Sarita Christensen, Mette Valbjørn Skøtt (Copenhagen Bombay)
TASTE BUDDIES by Veronica Lassenius (Spain/ Ireland/ Finland)
Produced by Pablo Jordi (Pikkukala Barcelona)
THE LAST WAVE by Douglas Enrique Gomez Mendiburu, Joe Alanís (Mexico)
Produced by Joe Alanís (Gasolina Studios)
RO by Magdalena Osińska (Poland/ France/ Finland/ UK/ Czech Republic)
Produced by Alexandre Charlet (Les Films du Cygne), Grzegorz Wacławek (ANIMOON)
THE ODD ADVENTURES OF NINJA & BIBBY by Piotr Różycki (Poland)
Produced by Mateusz Kowalczyk (Laniakea Pictures)
THE PREY by Esmail Zalat (Egypt/ UK)
Produced by Abdulrahman Khedr, Ahmed Hamouda (Giraffics), Muhammad Refaat
THE STORM by Angela Conigliaro (Italy)
Produced by Cristian Jezdić (beQ entertainment)
TOINK! by An Vrombaut (Belgium/ Netherlands)
Produced by Kristof Lantin (Animal Tank)
TROLL GIRL by Kay Carmichael (South Africa)
Produced by Dianne Makings (Giantslayer Studios)