Pitching animation in Cartoon Forum 2018

I felt so privileged to attend the 29th Cartoon Forum in Toulouse France this September. Cartoon Forum is one of the largest international pitching forums in Europe for animated TV projects. Pitching in Cartoon Forum means that you present your animation project in front of an auditorium full of producers, broadcasters and investors in 20 minutes or less, to find financing for the project.

Every year they choose one country to be presented in the spotlight. This year it was the “happiest nation of the world”: Finland. Thanks to Cartoon Forum and Finnanimation thirteen Finnish animation students were invited to participate in the couching programme. I got the chance to represent Turku University of Applied Sciences among with two of my classmates Linda and Ilari and two alumnus Hanne and Janna-Riina.

Attending the coaching programme meant that on our first day in Toulouse there were lectures by Anttu the co-founder of Gigglebug Entertainment and Petteri the CEO of Anima – about pitching and producing animation. They were informative introduction to the event but the biggest lesson came from attending the pitching sessions non-stop for the three following days.

Most of the productions were in early stages but to be selected to pitch at the Cartoon Forum means that you have at least a trailer’s much ready. The production budgets varied from about 800 000 euros to 8 million euros.

Approximately 85% of the projects had a leading female character. I noticed also that lot of the projects were based on an older idea: either a children book or even a gif sensation from Instagram. Also it’s not enough to have “only” a TV project anymore – there’s often plans to stream the project in YouTube or create games, AR and VR around the idea.

When your pitching for animation you need to have stunning visuals to pack up your presentation. I loved seeing the visual development – from the rough sketches to the highly rendered concept art. Cool handouts were always a happy surprise – I especially fell in love with my Frida Kahlo bag for the Little People Big Dreams –project.

In total I saw 31 pitching sessions. Some of my favourites were Laïdak Films’ Mom is pouring rain. It was a Christmas special, drawn 2D animation, which tells a story with depth about a girl whose mom is hospitalised for depression. Another favourite was Rabbit from a Tin Hat by Origin Tales studio in Serbia. After seeing multiple super cute (but little repetitive) pre-school projects it was always a relief to see something aimed for adults instead.

At nights Cartoon Forum organised dinner events in beautiful venues. Good food and great wine. First I was terrified about the thought of mingling. It’s just something we are not taught in Finland: how to start conversation with strangers. But then I remembered Andy J. Pizza’s word from his podcast the Creative Pep Talk: “Don’t mingle. Make friends.”

So that I did. I got to know producers, investors, broadcasters, journalists around the world and other participants of the couching programme from Finland and France. New best friends were made.

The week in Toulouse was mind-bobbling. I was so inspired that it was hard for me to get any sleep at nights. Also congratulations for YLE for winning the year’s Broadcaster of the Year award.
Thank you for reading,

P.S. If you want to read the longer version of this blog post I invite you to my blog ellimaanpaa.com/blog
2nd P.S. Thank you Cartoon Forum and Finnanimation for the experience and the photographs.

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Ami Lindholm´s Mother and Milk in production

What happens when a baby is born? What if there is no milk? Or just a drop too much?

Mother and Milk is an animated short film which describes the mental process of becoming a parent – in a scenery of a catastrophe film. When the baby is born the fresh mother has to give up the life she knew. A flood of breast milk covers everything – her home, work, friends, relationship and a good night sleep. The life she knew doesn’t exist any more. There’s just the mother and the baby – in an ocean of breast milk.



Animation director Ami Lindholm welcomes you to follow the process of creating the animated short film Mother and Milk.

During 2017 we made the development at Pyjama Films. Now everything is ready for animation! Producing company is now Paperihattu/coop Paperhat and here you can watch the trailer.

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Heta Jäälinoja jury member in Nordisk Panorama

Heta Jäälinoja was awarded last year 2017 in Nordisk Panorama film festival with a Best New Nordic Voice Award for her animated film Penelope.  Nordisk Panorama is an annual festival for nordic documentaries and short films and it´s happening  in Malmö, Sweden.

This year Heta was was chosen as a one member of the jury to choose the winner of the Best Nordic Short Film.

Here´s the interwiew of Heta in Good Morning Sweden, Swedish radio´s program for finnish speaking audience. In this interwiew Heta tells about festival jury´s work, nordic films and about her own work in film branch.

Heta Jäälinoja was one of the three jury members choosing Best Nordic Short Film in this year’s Nordisk Panorama, Malmö! A week ago, on very early morning she talked in Sverigesradio about this experience (in Finnish).

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Turku Animated Film Festival TAFF 29.8.-2.9.2108

Turku Animated Film Festival TAFF is here again! Third edition of the festival starts August 29th. and it´s five days of films, discussions, nice people and parties in a beautiful area of an old factory called Manilla by the river Aura.

Program is impressive with many national and international guests artists. Feature film screenings, children programs, competition, masterclasses, music etc.


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Exchange year in Falmouth University

by Kaarina Uimonen

My exchange year in Falmouth University in Cornwall, UK

I spent my last school year as an exchange student in Falmouth University (Animation&Visual Effects course) in Cornwall in The United Kingdom. I had always wanted to live and study abroad so I was beyond happy when I got selected. There were only two other animation exchange students on the course besides me!

The class was huge, I was with second year students and there were about 60 of them. I was very excited to be in a big group, that meant more chances of making new friends and bigger group projects and more teaching. The school year focused on pre-production. In the beginning of autumn we got to pick post- or pre-production and I picked pre-production since that involves everything I enjoy about making animation plus I wanted to know more about design things.

The workload was big and the studying intense since British universities have shorter terms than in Turku but it felt nice just to focus on animation related subjects only in a student-friendly atmosphere. Their degree is three years long so that’s why I was with second year students.

I was surprised how easy it was to blend in the class. Falmouth University has lots of international students doing their whole degree there so other students often assumed I was one too. The diversity on campus was amazing too. I felt really welcomed during my exchange year by the staff and fellow students. The students were fun, quirky and friendly and it was easy to find common topics with them since everyone loved animation. I got lots of friends there and I hope I’ll see them again.

The lectures were usually two hours long (ideal length!) and they were about character design, visual style or about pitching for an example. We had to practice pitching an animation project a lot during the year and make pitch bibles. There was also one workshop week with the director Luis Cook who has worked in Aardman Animations studio and he helped us with idea generating and gave us a great storyboard lecture.

There were lots of group projects and weekly production meetings with the staff. It was also mandatory to help the third year students in their third year films. Their productions were big and simulated studio environment and methods. Luckily I had done one internship in an animation studio before my exchange year so I wasn’t too lost. There were also some challenging academic essay writing modules we had to do, like Animation Technologies and Research and method. I even had to write a British dissertation proposal!

Penryn campus itself was very beautiful and Falmouth and Penryn are unique as places so I felt very excited to spend a year there and see British campus life. I also constantly saw garden workers on campus grounds, you could say the campus area was like a garden jungle! The campus has lots of services, even a school library that is open 24/7! Falmouth town with beaches and little shops and restaurants was lovely and cosy and it was a nice contrast to the hectic school life to see laidback and easy-going life in a Cornish seaside town where no one seemed to be in a hurry.

Besides school, I also joined in few clubs and societies on campus, like Harry Potter society and Expedition society. The latter allowed me to see Cornwall’s beautiful coasts and nature. The British club/society culture was perhaps one of my favorite things during my exchange year.

My exchange year was really fun, useful and a big experience for me and I was happy to realize how well internationality fits me. I hope to work abroad at some point after I graduate. It was inspiring to see how big the animation industry is in UK and how beautiful Cornwall is.

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