Annecy's MIFA: It's Business Time
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Big Announcements
The MIFA is a good place to make announcements. TV4, a new three-way venture between Chatsworth Television, Flicks' Films and the post-production house, VTR, launched at the Annecy market. TV4 is a children's animation, production, distribution and licensing house. The company will specialize in animation for younger children and already has four projects on the go. These first offerings have a combined budget of 5 million (US$8 million).

Malcom Heyworth, director of Chatsworth, says he is excited to be part of the new group, which he believes has great potential. "Now the three companies are combined, we have the perfect combination to succeed in successful children's properties," he said. The first offerings from the new outfit are: Kidding Around(65 x 5') which feature kids' jokes and Space Lunies,starring a group of characters living in outer space on the Big Planet and a few smaller ones nearby. Other shows are Busy Busesand The Adventures of Battersea, for 4-8 year-olds.

The job fair gives animators around the globe a chance to find out what's happening in the world of animation. Courtesy of Annecy. © Odile Jacquot/NBC.
New technology is the big topic of talk at this year's MIFA job fair. Courtesy of Annecy. © Odile Jacquot/NBC.

New Technologies
French company Alphanim was at the MIFA to promote and launch its new Web venture, -- an online animation channel featuring original animation but also taking the idea of community and moving the chatroom on a step. Christian Davin, CEO, says: "It is important that French producers get involved in Web activities. will be a new way to showcase programmes and will allow French companies to seize the initiative." The new outfit will have six channels, which will include original animation with a plan to have 12 original short series a year. Companies already involved in the venture include Anabase, A Vue d'Oeil, Atelier Sanzot, ToutenKartoon, Turaregs, Studio Anime and Zook Media.

The MIFA is also a great place to promote software and many companies were on site demonstrating their wares. Softimage held court demonstrating its new Toonz package, which had an overwhelming response at the MIFA, said a spokesperson. "We felt it was time to put more emphasis on features and so we've developed this new version keeping in mind the feedback of our installer base of more than 1,700," said Claudio Mattei, managing director, digital video. Toonz 4.4 allows animators to edit, paint and composite through one package.

So while the weather was wonderful in the Alps there were plenty of reasons to be inside MIFA's stuffy tents. From technology to new companies, faces and announcements, MIFA had a little something for everyone.

Marie Beardmore is an U.K.-based freelance writer who specializes in writing and consulting on the animation industry. She has just written a report on the Global Animation business forChannel 21 magazine.

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