Stuttgart, Germany -- Tonight in Stuttgart the seventh Animation Production Day, an event within FMX 2013 and ITFS 2013, draws to a close. Over 200 representatives of the German and international animation industry attended the "Financing & Brands" conference on Thursday afternoon in Stuttgart's Haus der Wirtschaft. On Friday 90 participants from 12 different countries held negotiations about the 32 animation projects selected for this year's APD. The projects have a total production value of around 80 million Euros.
The pre-organized one-on-one meetings are APD's core event. In the approximately 380 individually scheduled meetings this year, possible collaborations between producers and coproduction partners, broadcasters, distributors and investors were discussed in very concrete terms. 15 projects from Germany and 17 international projects from Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Spain, France and Switzerland were presented, including 10 with transmedia or crossmedia concepts.
According to Dittmar Lumpp, commercial manager of the International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart and APD co-organizer, "This year's increase in projects and participants by another 10 per cent confirms we're definitely on the right track with this type of event." Ulrich Wegenast, the artistic director, added: "The discussion of content in the "Financing & Brands" conference, combined with the carefully planned one-to-one meetings, has made APD one of the European animation industry's most important events."
Thomas Haegele, FMX conference chair and a fellow APD co-organizer said: "We're delighted by APD's success. It shows us that the increasing integration of crossmedia and transmedia topics and projects means we are definitely on the right track. The industry is undergoing a rapid transformation and we will stay abreast of these changes in our future plans for APD."
The "Financing & Brands" conference, entitled "The European media industry in flux: sharpening your competitive edge with international co-productions and transmedia concepts," drew an audience of around 200. The conference was organized in cooperation with the German Producers Alliance.
Keynote speeches from Jan Bonath (chair of animation at the Producers Alliance), Andreas Hykade (senior lecturer in animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg), Alison Norrington (CEO and founder of storycentral) and Andreas Briese (Strategic Partnership Development Manager at YouTube) made it clear that the new internet platforms are in the process of transforming user behavior and radically changing the market. In this way they are opening up totally new possibilities for telling stories across different media platforms. These transmedia concepts are of great interest to the animation industry, especially with a view to the games industry. However, as everyone in the ensuing discussions agreed, at present they bear little relevance to the financing of projects. The decisive factor for a project's success is and remains the content which is something about which all the representatives from the broadcasters are convinced. Regional variations in storytelling traditions are apparently still noticeable. Material which is successful in the German market will not necessarily meet with the same reception in France or Great Britain. However it is increasingly the case that projects are unable to secure financing for one national market alone.
According to APD curator Dominique Neudecker, "The conference once again showed that for successful European co-productions it is essential to carefully develop the material with an eye on international audiences. APD is absolutely the right platform for bringing together partners in order to collaborate on the development and realization of projects for the European market."
However, German producers still see themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to the realization of European co-productions. Whilst British and French broadcasters are obliged to incorporate home producers, this is not the case in Germany. The German animation industry is in a deep crisis and is lacking a common strategy. It could follow the example of British animation producers who, in close collaboration with the broadcasters and distributors, negotiated tax breaks for their industry.
Participants in the panel discussion moderated by Christophe Erbès:
Source: The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film