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Crazy for cartoons!

Italian animation is in perfect health, and invests on young talent
by Sara Sagrati
  • saturday, 3 september 2022

We met Anne-Sophie Vanhollebeke, president of Cartoon Italia and a panelist at L’Animazione Made in Sardegna porta l’Isola nel mondo, tra cinema, sostenibilità e racconto del reale hled by Fondazione Sardegna Film Commision.

Italian animation seems to enjoy very good health.
It is growing quickly, also thanks to the government’s contribution, which made it possible for Italy to inshore processes that had been offshored to Asia, and also for many Italian talents to travel back here. The data we have show a 5x increase in occupation.

The talents the industry is after.
The most valued professionals are storyboarders, background artists, and computer animators who know software such as Toon Boom. With the Sardegna Film Commission, we started project NAS, New Animation Sardegna, which trained over eighty Toon Boom experts. There are good schools in Italy, but they’re few, and cannot meet the market’s request for professional figures.

Digital revolution and animation.
We have gone paperless over ten years ago, but the most consequential change has been the inception of web-based distribution platforms. Over the last couple years, due to lockdowns, the audience share the youngest viewers grew. 30% of videos watched by children are on YouTube, and Netflix saw a 30% increase in their audience aged 4 to 14. This means we must think of new formats and new stories.

What about animated movie for adults?
That has been going great, too! With Animation in Europe, we met Netflix Europe, which encouraged us to experiment new narrations and formats, especially for the young adult. The condition is that we must involve emotionally an international audience. Easy, no? That’s why we must focus on young talents who can contribute innovative creativity.

Cartoon Italia participated to the meeting held by the Sardegna Film Commission for an animation industry Made in Sardinia. How important is to cooperate with institutions and with the territory?
Sardinia is strategic for us. We founded NAS, though the next step will be the creation of a pole of attraction for the image industry, like the one in Angoulême, France, that houses 15 schools and 35 production companies. We incentivised Italian studios to open an office in Sardinia and we are in touch with foreign investors. With the new pole, our city of Cagliari will house a growing industrial sector, will be able to keep its talents close to home, and will become a choice destination for international investments and creativity.