“It’s a surprise and a big surprise to see that there are fewer projects than last year from the UK,” he told TBI. “Last year, there were nine or ten of them, and this year there’s only four. I cannot explain this.”
He went on to say that while he is aware the selection committee for the Cartoon Forum refused some UK projects, but that this shouldn’t have been reason enough for the lack of British projects on the programme.
“Some of the projects were not well-prepared [this year], but that’s not the entire reason because every year we have at least eight, nine or ten British projects that are strong enough to be here,” he added.
At last years’ Forum, animators told TBI that with Brexit looming many were becoming more cautious to participate in European-coproduced projects until it is clear what will happen with the new negotiations.
On Brexit, Vandeweyer said that it will not ultimately be up to the Cartoon Forum to manage this relationship, but that UK animators may have to negotiate for a new media programme that allows them to participate.
Despite this, Cartoon Forum 2017 proved to have the most varied programme so far, with 23 countries entering from territories including Japan, South Korea and Poland.
Although the pitching event is seeing a growth in participants, Vandeweyer was clear to state that Toulouse is currently its permanent home.
“They want us here,” he said. “They like us to be here. I changed every year for 28 years and it’s so difficult. The financing became more difficult. The last three editions before Toulouse were very, very difficult, so I said, ‘okay now we’re fixed on a city’. We like it.
“We’ll stay here as long as they want us. Maybe one year it will change, but it’s not on the agenda for the moment.”