Annecy’s 2013 MIFA International Animation Film Market
What made MIFA, the Annecy Animation Festival’s international film market, so amazing this year? Well, you can start with the brand new additions: 3 panels called MIFA TALKS as well as the 20 SHARE WITH sessions, which hopefully will become annual traditions at the world’s largest celebration of animated features, shorts and TV series.
High powered executives from around the world were recruited by MIFA organizers. All networks have unique needs. However, after attending these presentations, it became apparent there were universal themes across sessions. FUNNY is in highest demand. A close second is for producers to make plenty of “series extras” meaning, companion marketing and entertainment products to support the TV series such as games and other activities for kids to use on their tablets, mobile phones and game consoles.
MIFA TALKS and the SHARE WITH(s) – these sessions contained the rubies, sapphires, and diamonds of business tips in this year’s MIFA. Mixed in with the usual jewels of info/insights, the traditional Territory Focus panels and events remain as staples, attracting much bigger crowds than the new sessions.
So with plenty of seats to spare, I was one of the lucky few to absorb what these key TV executives are seeking from animation suppliers.
MIFA TALKS panel highlights:
FRANCE - broadcaster TF1. Panelist Natalie Pinguet said her broadcast channel is very much into being “multi-platform.” Internet, tablets, smart phones, TV screens - for preschoolers through 10 year olds. Gender neutral preferred. Each series has a specific [TF1 network] launch strategy. Per the executive “We have no educational series… Our first job is to entertain….so we like HUMOR, COMEDY.”
UK - broadcaster BBC. World-renowned and they know it! This means the bar is set super high. If you’re aiming to get into business with this powerhouse channel, here’s what Sarah Muller summed up: “We [BBC] want special, unique, risk-taking, content under the radar, compelling and different stories. Pre-schoolers have their own dedicated channel Cbeebies, older kids 6-12 see the talent-led entertainment shows on CBBC. Whatever you see on the main BBC channel for adults, the mix of content is the same (but for kids), on the children’s channels. [We are] Looking for compelling content that doesn’t feel educational!”
USA/Worldwide - cable satellite network NICKELODEON. Jules Borkent, based in New York City, presented a powerful Powerpoint presentation interspersed with show clips. Most memorable moment of Jules’ talk? Nickelodeon wants “Smart & Heart & Fart!” How does Nick find these Rootin’ Tootin’ Toons? Using a competition model, one for US-based creators and a UK-based Shorts Program competition scheme for the rest of the world. Jules explained, “How we do it in the States, about 900 shorts were submitted. We took six, and developed them (assumption: series pilot). Of those six, only one is going to series production.” OK, now for the good news? The earlier the better for your pitch to Nickelodeon, no matter where in the world you’re based. Nickelodeon’s new series with Marathon Media of France, started with a one-pager!