Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gallic Toons

When you talk about world toonage, you need to talk about the country that enabled the U.S. of A. to get started (nation-wise) two hundred and thirty years ago:

France boasts the biggest TV toon industry in Europe by a wide margin, according to international showbiz industry analysts Screen Digest and Gallic promo org the Centre National du Cinema.

Pulling in E41.7 million ($59.76 million) in 2007, toons are Gaul's biggest TV export, repping 35% of total overseas sales, according to a CNC/TV France Intl. study.

The business has boomed this decade thanks to domestic backing including compulsory broadcaster investment plus CNC subsidies and tax breaks that cover between 10%-80% of series' budgets.

It's not just television work thatFrench animation studios are doing. Illumination Entertainment, doing Despicable Me for Universal-GE, tapped Mac Guff Ligne to do the production work for U-GE's second entry into the longform cartoon biz (The Tale of Despereaux -- from Framestore Feature Animation in London -- being the first). The company looks as though it's done an all right job:

A couple of years back an industry artist raved to me about some test c.g. footage a French company had done for the Disney Co.: "The animation was of the seven dwarfs, and it looked fantastic. And Disney was high on using the company for animation work but got turned down. The sample work the company did on the dwarfs was so impressive that they got inundated with other offers that paid more ..."

The animation business is one big global workshop, divided into departments labeled "Quality" and "Quantity." France appears to be trying to fill slots in both areas.


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