Exclusive: Gaumont Animation’s Terry Kalagian talks European spending power & stability


Gaumont Animation plans to leverage the spending power of France and Germany for faster growth, with a renewed European focus for the Paris-based Stillwater producer, the firm’s newly promoted animation chief has told TBI here at MIFA.

Last week, Gaumont Animation struck a first-look co-production and distribution partnership with Munich-based Maya The Bee firm Studio 100, uniting to bring animated, kids and family TV series and film content to global audiences.

Terry Kalagian, who was promoted to president of global animation, kids & family, at Gaumont just days before the deal was announced, shared further details about the pact – as well as her new role – with TBI here at the Annecy International Animation Film Market (MIFA) in France.

“Our feeling is that together, we can get features and series off the ground faster,” explained Kalagian. “[Studio 100] bring in Germany and German speaking territories, we bring in France, and we bring in French speaking territories, that’s a great place to start.”

She added: “What’s great about it is those two territories together very often have the ability to fully fund series, right off the bat. It will allow us to be able to move faster in a marketplace that is moving super-fast. We feel like it’s an incredible partnership and it just makes so much sense.”

Terry Kalagian

European efficiencies

Gaumont is behind titles including Stillwater for Apple TV+, Do, Re & Mi for Prime Video and Samurai Rabbit: The Usagi Chronicles for Netflix. Kalagian’s promotion came as the firm announced plans to centralise the animation division in Europe.

Kalagian will leave Los Angeles behind for Paris in January and told TBI that while the company will continue to focus on producing shows and movies with global appeal, they will be made foremost with French and European audiences in mind.

“We’re going to move into Europe, and we’re going to look at things from a global perspective. So can we make shows that would work in Europe and France, and also make sure that they can work in other territories at the same time? We were kind of always doing that, but here, we’re going to make a concerted effort to do that,” shared Kalagian.

“The other thing is, the feature scene is expanding; we want features, we still make movies, we put out almost a movie a month out of France. That team, distribution especially, they are looking to increase the number of animated features that they can bring to market.”

Sharing the thinking behind the restructure, she explained: “With the chaos and upheaval that’s happening in the US, we felt like this was the prime time to really look at our business and see where there are ways for us to do things differently and more efficiently.

“In Europe, even though the industry as a whole is impacted by recession, and everything that’s happening around the world, Europe still has been able to go along the way it’s been going along, and still produce shows, of course, because channels still have a need for shows – and they’re really servicing their audience.”

Read Next