Annecy’s MIFA 2012: Animation Powered by…France?
During the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, there are so many screenings going on in multiple venues (animated features, pilots, series episodes, short films) that it is possible to overlook the MIFA market for animation professionals. However, for those in the animation industry who want to find creative and financial partners for their next animated film and TV projects, the MIFA market during the Annecy Festival is a terrific place to be - in more ways than one!
Registered animation producers happily travel across the globe to meet up in Annecy’s Imperial Hotel. The rewards for such a long journey are immediate, as the MIFA market takes place in an alpine town which sports spectacular views of the glorious French Alps and a gigantic glacier lake.
Besides paying homage to the fantastic setting, the subject on the lips of the majority of the market participants was the “business” of animation, with a particular focus on the funding combinations possible in today’s international co-production climate.
According to MIFA’s Head of Projects, Veronique Encrenaz, “last year we had 45 countries represented at the MIFA. This year we had 63! If Europe suffers from the crisis, which makes it difficult for some regions to have the same presence as before, new delegations are arriving every year. This year, with a booth, we had Russia, Czech Republic and Taiwan for first time, and enlarged pavilions for the second year like Mexico, Canada, including French-Canada, Poland and, India.”
Within the mix of attendees, it was evident that a significant majority of participants were French, but not necessarily because Annecy is a short plane, train or car ride away for them. It’s rather well known in animation series and feature funding circles that a French co-producer can bring 30-50% of a budget “to the table” depending on several conditions being met. For eager MIFA co-producers, most important of all is to team up with a French co-producer who can help in securing of a French broadcaster/channel commitment. That assures a maximized France licensing fee, especially if your project can qualify as French and/or European content, which then provides an opportunity for your French co-producer to apply for substantial French government subsidies.
Typically, about 60% of shows that make it on French public TV are co-productions. Supplementing the public TV channel budgets (funded by government coffers), other national agencies kick in their fair share, depending on how much money is actually spent supporting the French animation and other audiovisual producers. The CNC (National Center of Cinema and Animation) for example, invested in 4,413 hours of French content in 2010, and not all was allocated to the broadcasters - a healthy 25.6% went to the pay television channels original content production.