France is the world’s third-largest animation producer, with 7,790 employees last year, according to CNC.
An increasing number of international products, especially TV animation series, are arriving in France, attracted by its 30% tax exemption for International Projects (TRIP) programs.
A high 40% tax rebate is available for VFX projects that cost € 2 million ($ 2.14 million) in France, including seven projects supported in 2021, including Ridley Scott’s “The Last Duel”.
In 2021, Animation recouped 46% of all overseas production costs under the TRIP scheme, an increase of 62% between 2019 and 2021.
Demand for animation and VFX staff is growing in France in 2021 with only 16% employment growth.
The number of TRIP-supported animation projects doubled between 2019 and 2021, and the number of all movie and TV projects (fantasy and animation) increased by 231%. In 2021, 71% of all supported projects were for streaming platforms.
Animated shows for streamers, the line produced in France, has become one of the fastest-growing programming areas in the country.
French studios are expanding their own original content targeted at streamers, as animation facilitates access to global markets due to the absence of language barriers.
Illumination McGuff, created in 2011 and topped by Chris Meledandri and Jack Blade, has produced 12 animated features and more than 30 animated shirts for Illumination / Universal Pictures over the past 11 years, including “Minions: The Rise of Grow” and 2 are included. . ”Current products include“ Super Mario Bros. ”movies, and two products scheduled for 2025. The staff has increased from 300 to 900 since 2011.
“Everything we do has to see its own signature,” Blade says. “It depends on our specific artistic approach and our proprietary software.”
Technicolor has streamlined and rebranded its operations. Mikros Animation now handles animation and MPC provides VFX. With its headquarters in Paris, Technicolor operates in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and India.
Mikros Animation has 1,400 employees in Bangalore, India, and 800 combined in Montreal and Paris, and is recruiting for an additional 500 employees in all studio locations.
Recent Mikros projects include “Paw Patrol 2”, a new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie, both handled primarily in Montreal, and “The Tiger’s Apprentice” in Paris. Productions include the animated series “The Coupe Troop,” “Gus, The Eatsy Bitsy Night,” Season 2, and the TV series based on the Rolled Dahl book.
“Animation is different from any other craft,” says Andrea Miloro, president of Micros. “You can create everything from scratch. Viewers of all age groups are looking for rich, imaginative projects.”
MPC has made a similar split between VFX functions in TV series and feature films compared to the 20/80 split in 2019. Recent series include the French thriller “Totemus” for Amazon Prime. Feature films include “The Last Dual”, “Tobacco’s Force” and Jean-Jacques Annoud’s “Notre-Dame Is Burning”.
MPC’s Béatrice Bauwens says the company works on large products, benefiting from the global presence of technicians, but also aims to continue working on smaller independent projects with distinctive VFX aesthetics.
Blue Spirits, part of the Neuen Group, aims to focus its activities on a new facility opening next year in Angouleme, southwestern France.
“What happened?” Includes the first animated series for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has been working on Warners for “Gremlins: Mystery of Mogwai”, adult animation series for Netflix, season 2 of “Arthur and the Children of the Round Table”, TF1 and “Mill Bornness” for “The Borrowers”.
“The industry has changed a lot [in favor of] Adult animation, “says Eleanor Coleman of Blue Spirit.
Synergy between the animation and videogame fields is growing, as players prepare for multiverse.
Real-time animation software, originally developed for video games – such as Unity and Unreal – is adopted by the French animation sector.
Cyber Group’s first 100% real-time animation series is “Giganto Club”. The studios have recently expanded their global reach by acquiring the UK, Italy and Singapore, with projects in the pipeline, including a co-production agreement with a leading Japanese studio, to be announced in Annecy.
Miam! The animation, powered by Hanna Mouchez, uses Unity’s real-time animation software in the eco-themed “Edmond and Lucy” and uses Unreal in its upcoming series “The Teenagers” about life toys. It is also working on “Got Girl” with Dublin-based studio Daily Madness.
Mouchez says that real-time animation makes it possible to fundamentally reduce the time of computers and reduce their carbon footprint. “We’ve come up with innovations to improve artistic quality and realism,” she says. “Audiovisual and videogames used to be two worlds, but we increasingly need to work together.”
Fortiche, which has a minority stake in Riot Games, has studios in Paris, Montpellier and the Canary Islands. It starred in Netflix’s “Arcane”, a video game based on the “League of Legends” and is currently in season 2. Other recent projects include “Miss Saturne,” and the in-house series. Production chief Hervé Dupont explains that the combination of 2D and 3D animation in “Arcane” provided anime style with live action-style staging.
Dwarf Animation, also based in Montpellier, has starred in Netflix’s “Trash Truck” and “My Dad the Bounty Hunter,” and Disney’s “Monsters at Work.” CEO Olivier Pinol now plans to diversify in-house content.
Xilam CEO Mark du Pontavis says 70% of the studio’s work is now for streamers. He adds that it offers a big reversal because he can retain long-term rights. He sees great potential in adult animation and will announce a new series in Annecy. Xilam has four studios in France with 400 employees and one studio in Vietnam with 100 employees. This created a CGI hub in Angouleme that completed “Oggy Oggy” for Netflix in 2021.
Leading children’s entertainment company TeamTO has just completed “The Creature Cases” in partnership with Silvergate Media. It is currently working on season 5 of the martial arts action comedy “Jade Armor,” “Angelo Rules,” and a music-themed animated documentary. TeamTO’s Corinne Cooper says they’re making two feature films, one based on Greek mythology and the other about a girl living on the subway in a graphic novel that turns into a fantasy world.
VFX House MacGuff is using its AI-powered face engine to bring people back to life, and rejuvenate ages and artists. Recent examples include the TV series “Hotel du Temps”, the Cannes-starrer “Masquerade”, starring Isabel Adjani, and the sci-fi thriller “Vesper”. MacGuff is working on projects for Netflix for Season 3 of “Lupine” and Disney +.
“The Face Engine opens a new door,” says producer Philip Sonier. “It’s a new way to move through time, at a very reasonable price. It’s completely different from the technology of Scorsese’s films like ‘The Irishman’. It has a natural look and avoids spending time on makeup.”
MacGuff, in conjunction with the MPC, will soon begin VFX work on the “Animal Kingdom” for the Nord Ouest movie featuring half-humans / half-animals.
Pierre Buffin’s Buff Films has recently completed VFX work on “Matrix Resurrections” for Warners and “Infiniti” for Canal Plus. The company only uses proprietary software, integrating composing and 3D work. It is working on two major sci-fi projects, one for Netflix, in which Buffin says viewers will move from one galaxy to another. Renowned for his distinctive approach and interest in projects that explore the human mind, Buffin emphasizes the ground-breaking opportunities opened by VFX.
“If you venture into the extremes of the human mind or the extremes of the universe, it ultimately opens up similar possibilities for expanding our knowledge,” he says.
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