The Problem With Bad Teeth

by Heikki Jokinen

The Cartoon Movie Program Cover. Courtesy of Cartoon.

European eagerness to make feature animation does not seem to have calmed down. This was proven at the Cartoon Movie event at the historical Babelsberg Studios in Potsdam, Germany. The place was well chosen; the first feature animation of all time, Lotte Reiniger's Die Gesichte des Prinzen Achmed(The Adventures of Prince Ahmed, 1926) was created at Babelsberg.

This annual co-financing forum for European feature animation was held March 23 — 25, 2000 for the second time. In three days 27 projects in development or production were presented. All 350 participants -- including 93 investors and distributors -- also had the opportunity to see six brand new features on the big screen.

A photo from the main floor of the Babelsberg fx Center. Courtesy of Cartoon.

Organized by Cartoon, the animation platform for the European Union, Cartoon Movie follows the format of the well-known Cartoon Forum event. Accepted producers have 40 minutes to convince participants to either invest money, or agree to television screenings or a distribution deal for the proposed movie project. Results vary; sometimes the producer will get his financial need fulfilled 100%, sometimes the most visible reaction is yawning. To present a project at Cartoon Movie does not guarantee that one day it will hit the screens.

The event organizers create detailed statistics of the participants attending project presentations. Most popular was the Danish-initiated film Help, I'm a Fish, which attracted 131 professionals. The film, which involves production companies A.Film (Denmark), Münich Animation (Germany), EIV Entertainment (Germany) and Terraglyph (Ireland), is almost finished and will be screened at the Cannes Film Market.

(Left to right) Corinne Jenart, the director of Cartoon, with Maya and Thilo Rothkirsch of Cartoon-Film, Germany (producers of Tobias Totz). Courtesy of Cartoon.

The next projects on the list of attendance were Silver Fox Films' Water Warriors (UK), NDF Hamburg's Derrick - The Animated Movie (Germany), Oniria Production's Tristan and Isolde (Luxemburg), Trixter's Loisel's Peter Pan (Germany), Sparx's The Candelight Circus (France), Futurikon's Malo Korrigan and the Space Tracers (France), Siriol Productions' 360 (UK), Metal Hurlant Productions' Benito Mambo (France) and Entropie Films' The Barrel Organ (France).

Most of the planned films are for children or adolescents, the main consumers of animation. There are, however, some interesting exceptions that break the rules. Absolutely the funniest and perhaps furthest from the mainstream was the French project Teddy's Coming Out.

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