Photo: Granny O’Grimm (left) and Please Say Something (right)

The 20th anniversary of Cartoon Forum – which drew to a close on September 25 in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, County of Rogaland – showed that animation productions are becoming increasingly attractive and competitive on the international stage.

The ten projects that garnered the most interest among broadcasters, investors, producers and distributors at the meeting were Boo Boo Dolls (Germany); Granny O’Grimm (Ireland); Skybabies (UK); Kinky & Cosy (France); Me and my Robot (France), The Flying Squirrels (Spain); The Secret Life of Suckers (Spain); Copy Cut (France); Pigly (France); and Dustbunnies (UK).

Cartoon Forum has been a driving force behind European animation over the past two decades and can be given credit for this year’s hike in co-productions between two or more European countries (39% vs 20% in 2008) and an increase in projects from countries beyond the traditional ‘big five’, including Ireland, Belgium and the Nordic Countries.

Along with the presentation of these new projects, the event also hosted the Cartoon Tributes and Cartoon d’Or 2009, which have become prestigious awards for European animation. Aimed at recognizing companies or personalities that have had a positive influence on the European animation industry over the last year, this year’s Cartoon Tributes went to NRK (Best Broadcaster), Cake Entertainment (Best Investor/Distributor) and Brown Bag Films (Best Producer).

Meanwhile Irish director David O’Reilly took the Cartoon d’Or 2009 for his innovative short film Please Say Something. Written and directed by O’Reilly, the film won the Golden Bear for Best Short Film earlier this year at the 59th Berlin International Film Festival. This year’s jury was composed by directors Serge Elissalde (France), Kari Juusonen (Finland) and Tomm Moore (Ireland).

Organised every year by the European Association of Animation Films, this new edition of Cartoon Forum was supported by EU MEDIA Programme, the County of Rogaland, the cities of Stavanger and Sandnes, the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, the Norwegian Film Institute, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Innovation Norway, Sparebanken 1 SR-Bank and NRK.