Magazine article Variety

Euro Cel Bloc Sold on Stereo 3d

Magazine article Variety

Euro Cel Bloc Sold on Stereo 3d

Article excerpt

While the number of new 3D pics seems to be leveling off Stateside, European fummakers continue to expand with lowbudget and arty 3D toons. At Euro animation pitching forum Cartoon Movie, the number of 3D titles in the lineup has doubled since last year, as 3D pics now represent 40% of all the mart's projects and completed films.

Rather than imitate what Hollywood already does well, Euro fummakers often use 3D in novel ways, as evidenced by such helmers as France's Patrice Leconte with "The Suicide Shop," UK's Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt on "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," and Estonia's Kaspar Jancis with "Morten on the Ship of Fools."

"Shop," Leconte's first animated movie, produced by Diabolo Films, mixes 2D and 3D to emulate the quaint look of a children's pop-up book. "Pirates," from Brit studio Aardman, and "Morten on the Ship of Fools" apply 3D to stop-motion animation.

"There is a real sense of creativity and innovation in European 3D animation," says Cartoon Movie general director Marc Vandeweyer. "There's more cultural difference in the graphic styles and in the narratives than there is in the U.S."

The B.O. potential of Europe's 3D auteur-driven toons, however, has yet to be proven. "The Rabbi's Cat," helmed by French comicbook artist Joann Sfar, and Michel Ocelot's "Tales of the Night," both released in 2D and 3D, failed to conquer French authences.

Per Vandeweyer, "European audiences are still too accustomed to watching Hollywood-made animated movies, and that makes it harder for films that have a different graphic style to target the same market. It will take time."

Since they cater to a smaller audience segment than Hollywood, Euro producers have learned to produce 3D toons on micro budgets to limit risks.

The $3.8 million "Beyond Beyond" is one of the small-budget Scandinavian projects pitched at the mart. Directed by Esben Toft Jacobsen and produced by Copenhagen Bombay, the team behind $2.2 million "The Great Bear," the pic has already sold to 25 territories.

Petter Lindblad, producer of "Beyond Beyond," says his company will be able to deliver the film on such a shoestring budget by spending a long time in preparation and pre-production.

"We don't produce anything that won't be used, and we try to not have too many co-producers involved because that would dilute the project," says Lindblad, adding that the company works with off-the-shelf tools such as Maya.

The budget drop doesn't concern only 3D films either. In fact, the average cost of all Cartoon Movie titles has dropped to euro5. …

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