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A quick guide to an­i­mated con­tent sell­ers to be found amid the live-ac­tion over­load of the Cannes Film Mar­ket.

omb­ing through the Cannes Film Mar­ket in search of the right prop­erty or deal can be a daunt­ing experience even for vet­er­ans of the event. And it’s even harder if you’re look­ing for an­i­ma­tion amid the over­whelm­ing preva­lence of in­de­pen­dent and art-house live-ac­tion fea­tures. So here’s a quick guide to some of the ven­dors of an­i­mated con­tent and their wares avail­able at this year’s mar­ket.

anish an­i­ma­tion pow­er­house Copen­hagen Bom­bay has its prover­bial fin­gers in many pies: It’s re­leased a string of suc­cess­ful orig­i­nal fea­tures for chil­dren, launched a hand­ful of hit se­ries and ex­panded into mar­kets such as ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als — all of it done in-house while re­tain­ing cre­ative con­trol.

In other words, the Den­mark-based stu­dio is cel­e­brat­ing its 10th an­niver­sary in 2016 as a ver­i­ta­ble poster-child-style role model for the mod­ern in­de­pen­dent an­i­ma­tion stu­dio.

“What we want to do, and what we do, is all kinds of con­tent,” says CEO and owner Sarita Chris­tensen, adding one caveat: “It has to be orig­i­nal.”

Copen­hagen Bom­bay is in pro­duc­tion on the fea­ture film Get Santa, di­rected by Ja­cob Ley, and due out this Christ­mas; and The Next-Door Spy, about a quirky girl de­tec­tive who has to solve a ma­jor case at the same time she’s deal­ing with fall­ing in love for the first time. “It’s funny and dif­fer­ent, and it’s film noir for chil­dren,” says Chris­tensen.

Two more an­i­mated fea­tures are in devel­op­ment, with the stu­dio ex­pect­ing to close fi­nanc­ing for them this year. The stu­dio also just re­leased its new­est TV se­ries, Kiwi & Strit, co-pro­duced with NDR in Ger­many and sold to eight ter­ri­to­ries.

And the com­pany has plans to ramp up its out­put from a film ev­ery two years to two or three films ev­ery two years. All of which is in line with what has been Chris­tensen’s goal from the start: Cre­ate high-qual­ity orig­i­nal con­tent for chil­dren.

That goal crys­tal­ized for Chris­tensen dur­ing her nine years work­ing at Lars Von Trier’s Ze- ntropa Films. She fell in love with an­i­ma­tion while pro­duc­ing the anime-style fea­ture Princess and wanted to use the medium to bring to chil­dren’s en­ter­tain­ment the same qual­ity Zen­tropa did to its projects for adults.

But she re­al­ized form­ing a new com­pany to fo­cus on that goal ex­clu­sively was more likely to suc­ceed than do­ing it at Zen­tropa, and Copen­hagen Bom­bay was founded. “It was not that they were not in­ter­ested,” she says of Zen­tropa. “But for me ... it’s some­thing you have to do 100 per­cent — or 110.”

The com­pany started up with 15 em­ploy­ees, an an­i­ma­tion stu­dio and in­vestors all set to take on that goal. Chris­tensen says it caused waves in the in­dus­try when she be­gan sign­ing tal­ent to new con­tracts shar­ing own­er­ship in its IPs with creators.

“The com­pany owns a great share of all the IPs we have cre­ated, and so far we’ve cre­ated more than 40 IPs — 20 of them are fin­ished pro­duc­tions and 20 of them are con­cepts,” she says.

Af­ter its first fea­ture, 2009’s The Ap­ple and the Worm, Copen­hagen Bom­bay had a break­through with the 2011 CG-an­i­mated fea­ture The Great Bear, di­rected by Es­ben Toft Ja­cob­sen. Made for 1.8 mil­lion eu­ros, the film has sold to more than 30 ter­ri­to­ries and was se­lected for the Ber­lin Film Fes­ti­val.

Chris­tensen split in 2011 with her busi­ness part­ner, di­rec­tor An­ders Mor­gen­thaler, and in­vestor Eg­mont Co., buy­ing their stakes in the com­pany and tak­ing full own­er­ship.

The 2014 re­lease Be­yond Be­yond was a mixed suc­cess story, Chris­tensen says. The film tells a good story, but it is a very sad film — a qual­ity that made it a more dif­fi­cult sell to au­di­ences. The film lost money in Den­mark, but also be­came the stu­dio’s first U.S. sale with Lion­s­gate pick­ing it up for dis­tri­bu­tion.

“We learned we need to be care­ful, not in avoid­ing work­ing with dif­fi­cult sub­jects ... but in what hard work it re­ally takes to han­dle th­ese sub­jects in a way that you get more au­di­ence,” she says. “It was in a way ab­so­lutely worth it, but les­son learned.”

Mov­ing into tele­vi­sion was an ob­vi­ous move that also was more chal­leng­ing than ex­pected, Chris­tensen says. “It’s a to­tally dif­fer­ent ball­game to do a se­ries,” she says. “It’s ma­chin­ery on a dif­fer­ent level than do­ing a niche cin­ema film.”

To­day, Copen­hagen Bom­bay com­prises seven di­vi­sions, in­clud­ing a rights-holder com­pany, a pro­duc­tion com­pany, global and do­mes­tic dis­tri­bu­tion arms, an ed­u­ca­tional divi­sion, a daugh­ter com­pany in Stock­holm, Swe­den, and a joint ven­ture in China. It has about 15 em­ploy­ees and works with around 50 free­lancers and be­tween 15 and 20 writ­ers, direc­tors and con­cept creators, Chris­tensen says.

The com­pany works with de­but direc­tors and writ­ers, which keeps things fresh, and con­stantly seeks ways to work faster and smarter to make the busi­ness side of things work out and keep the com­pany in­de­pen­dent, she says.

But the real fu­ture is on the cre­ative side. “I re­ally be­lieve we need more orig­i­nal fea­ture films,” says Chris­tensen. “I like the idea of cre­at­ing some­thing re­ally new and some­thing very dif­fer­ent ... and there is money for that, if it’s not too ex­pen­sive.” [

Wizart re­turns to the Cannes Film Mar­ket as a key com­po­nent in build­ing fran­chises like mul­ti­plat­form suc­cesses. By Tom McLean.

The Cannes Film Mar­ket con­tin­ues to be a key stop for Wizart An­i­ma­tion as it builds The Snow Queen movie se­ries into a mul­ti­plat­form fran­chise and launches new an­i­mated fea­tures that also have fran­chise stay­ing power in their sights.

This year, the Rus­sia-based an­i­ma­tion stu­dio has two fea­tures com­ing out that it will be bring­ing to mar­ket: The just-pre­miered Sheep & Wolves and the hol­i­day re­lease The Snow Queen 3: Fire and Ice. Pro­ducer Vladimir Niko­laev says the mar­ket is an es­sen­tial plat­form for sales and al­lows the com­pany to build on the mo­men­tum of its ear­lier projects.

“In case of the first in­stall­ment (of Snow Queen) we needed to present 40 min­utes of the movie to start sales,” he says. “And now for The Snow Queen 3, we started sales with five min­utes of the movie.”

Bol­ster­ing The Snow Queen 3 is the ad­di­tion to the film­mak­ing team of well-known Hol­ly­wood an­i­ma­tion writer Robert Lence, whose cred­its in­clude Beauty and the Beast and Toy Story.

Wizart also is in pre­pro­duc­tion on the 52 x 11 min. an­i­mated TV se­ries The Snow Queen: Friends For­ever. Nick­loaev says the se­ries is still open for part­ner­ships. Also on the TV front, Wizart pro­duced the an­i­mated se­ries Yoko in co­op­er­a­tion with Span­ish stu­dios So­muga and Dibu­li­toon.

And that’s just the tip of the prover­bial ice­berg of the plans Wizart has for turn­ing Snow Queen into a global mul­ti­plat­form prop­erty.

Go­ing Live Wizart is devel­op­ing a live show based on The Snow Queen with the Za­pashny Broth­ers, a group of es­tab­lished cir­cus artists. The show will de­but in De­cem­ber to co­in­cide with the re­lease of The Snow Queen 3, with 70 en­gage­ments planned for Rus­sia, Niko­laev says. Dis­cus­sions are un­der way to take the show abroad, with Wizart’s part­ners in Bul­garia, the Baltic na­tions and Is­rael show­ing strong in­ter­est, he says.

Niko­laev says the pop­u­lar­ity of the Za­pashny Broth­ers in Asia will help pop­u­lar­ize The Snow Queen there, and across Europe. “Za­pashny Broth­ers are very pop­u­lar in Asia, and we hope that Europe would love this show, too,” he says, adding that the show costs as much to pro­duce as a full-length in­de­pen­dent movie.

On the high-tech side, Wizart jumped last year into aug­mented re­al­ity games re­leased on the Ap­ple App Store and Google Play. Niko­laev says Wizart pro­duces its AR games in­house on the Vu­fo­ria plat­form from Qual­comm and it’s a seg­ment that builds on the com­pany’s ori­gins pro­duc­ing com­puter games.

“That’s your ad­di­tional con­tact with the au­di­ence, a bonus that you of­fer as an en­ter­tain- ment,” says Niko­laev. “Our part­ners work with it very ac­tively ... and we are very sat­is­fied with the feed­back we get from the au­di­ence.”

The apps are orig­i­nally pro­duced in English and Rus­sian, then cus­tom­ized for part­ners, Niko­laev says. “We lo­cal­ized The Snow Queen World ap­pli­ca­tion in Por­tuguese for our Brazil­ian part­ner. In Nether­lands, Peru, Chile, South Africa the ap­pli­ca­tion is be­ing suc­cess­fully pro­moted in English.”

Other apps are in the works for Sheep & Wolves, with lo­cal­ized apps de­but­ing in April along­side the movie in the Mid­dle East in Turk­ish, and in Mongolia in English, he says. Mul­ti­task­ing Growth A li­cens­ing deal with Doll Maker pro­duced a

Kiwi & Strit

Vladimir Niko­laev

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