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The "Guangdong-Europe Promotion Conference on Animation Films" held in France

The "Guangdong-Europe Promotion Conference on Animation Films" was held at France's Annecy International Animation Film Festival on June 11 local time. The Guangdong Animation Film Delegation and representatives from more than 10 internationally renowned animation companies including Blue Spirit Studios and China Film Group Corporation gathered to discuss hot topics in the industry such as animation production, distribution, copyright trading, and technological innovation.

The "Guangdong-Europe Promotion Conference on Animation Films" was hosted by the Guangdong Film Industry Association and GDToday of Nangfang Media Group. It marked the first overseas discussion conference organized by the Guangdong Film Bureau for animation companies. Representatives from Guangdong enterprises showed the development scale, development characteristics, and representative excellent Guangdong animation of animation enterprises in China, especially Guangdong, in the form of video clips and poster exhibitions, which impressed the representatives of French enterprises present.

The key to cooperation between Chinese and foreign animation companies is "meeting first"

France's Annecy International Animation Film Festival was launched in 1960 and is a top-tier international animation awards festival. The Annecy International Animation Film Market (MIFA) established in 1985 is a trade market based on cultural content and serves as a barometer for the global animation industry.

The head of the Guangdong Film Bureau introduced that Guangdong is a major province in the Chinese film industry, with a strong development foundation and significant market advantages. Currently, there are more than 1,600 registered cinemas with over 10,000 screens. The box office has ranked first in the country for 22 consecutive years. The creation and production of animated films take the lead in the country. In recent years, a series of excellent animated films and animated IPs such as "Boonie Bears", "GG Bond" and "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf" have received attention and praise from all walks of life at home and abroad. Film technology research and application are at the forefront nationwide. "This year, we are organizing companies to attend the Annecy Film Festival for discussions, hoping to promote exchanges between Guangdong animation companies and French companies and further enhance cooperation between Guangdong and France in the field of animation."

Veronique Encrenaz, head of the MIFA at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, emphasized the importance of face-to-face interaction for successful cooperation in the animation industry. She said that due to the long production cycles in animation, both sides need to understand each other before cooperation, ensuring that everyone is on the same level in terms of concepts, technology, and working methods, and can get along harmoniously. "Therefore, such conferences are very valuable for both Guangdong animation companies and French companies seeking to explore the Chinese market," she said, "and it is important to meet often, preferably every year. This is the key."

Kessler Jérémie, Director of the International Department of the French National Centre of Cinema (CNC), expressed that professionals in the French film and animation industry have a strong interest in China and are eager to cooperate with Chinese counterparts. In the short term, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the industrial layout and development needs of both sides. On the one hand, the government can act as a bridge to facilitate meetings between French (animation) companies and relevant companies in Guangdong and deepen mutual understanding. On the other hand, professionals in Guangdong can also establish contacts with French companies to assist in the broadcast of French works in Guangdong or other parts of China, so that Chinese audiences can have a better understanding of French works.

"The Annecy Film Festival has a strong appeal between artistry and commerciality," said a person in charge of the organizer. He noted that the diverse styles of Guangdong animation are gradually demonstrating immense international communication potential. This conference hopes to seize the opportunity for outstanding animation industry institutions in Guangdong to collectively appear at this film festival and convey to industry professionals from China and abroad the determination and confidence of Guangdong animation to cooperate with top international industry institutions in a win-win future. "Face-to-face communication to understand the latest technologies and ideas will make what we do is not 'behind closed doors'."

Finding good "partners" to jointly create "international IPs"

At the conference, companies from Guangdong such as FANTAWILD, WINSING, GDALPHA, and RAYVISION shared their respective international production cooperation experiences and introduced distribution plans for multiple original works and projects.

WINSING introduced several original animated films, including the new Chinese animated film "Into the Mortal World", which took five years to complete. "Based on the 'IP diversification' strategy, WINSING is laying out IP for all age groups, reaching out to more young users," said Yan Bing, vice president of WINSING. WINSING will, on the one hand, create more original IPs and boutique works based on the content type demand of the international market to enhance the global competitiveness of Chinese animated IPs; on the other hand, through various influential overseas film and television exhibition activities, it will strengthen online and offline communication and cooperation with major media worldwide to enhance overseas audiences' awareness and love for domestic animation.

Luo Gaocheng, senior director of FANTAWILD (Shenzhen), shared the company's experience of "going global". FANTAWILD's more than 30 original animated works have been distributed in over 130 countries worldwide. Among them, the "Boonie Bears" brand has become a phenomenon-level IP in countries such as India and Türkiye. "We also have good distribution cooperation in Europe, and some films have been distributed to the UK, Germany, and other European countries," he said. According to him, an important lesson learned is that you must find a strong partner in different countries to distribute your program. "Only in this way can your program attract attention in the local market."

Olivier Lelardoux, CEO of Blue Spirit Studios, told GDToday reporters that the company is developing a series of film and television works, several of which are related to Chinese culture. And they look forward to cooperating with Chinese companies. "Whether it's joint production, distribution, authorization, or specialized cooperative research, we hope to collaborate with companies from China," he said. Such discussions are a great opportunity, and they will soon go to China for field trips.

After the conference, the Guangdong Animation Film Delegation visited the MIFA China Flim Pavilion to understand the demands of the international animation trade market, hoping to build bridges for more Guangdong animation companies to go global. It is worth noting that Dongguan, Guangdong Province, will host the 14th China International Film and Television Animation Copyright Protection and Trade Expo in July this year. During this event, the Guangdong Film Bureau will organize Animation Film Week activities to invite film and television companies and filmmakers from around the world to communicate, collaborate, create, film, settle, and develop in Guangdong.

Reported by GDToday journalists Chen Xiani and Guo Hongda from Annecy, France

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