Officially launched on August 1, 2019 as part of Interreg Europe, the three-year ALICE project held its first working session on September 2-3 in Mons and Marcinelle (Dreamwall studio), Belgium.  The overall objective of the project is to promote transnational cooperation in the animation sector to foster the development of a world-leading industry.   

All the project's partners attended the meeting, including Wallonia with Wallimage as the leading partner, the Hauts-de-France region with Pictanovo, Catalonia-based PROA Audiovisual Producers' Federation, the Region of Puglia in Italy, the Slovak Ministry of Culture and the Rzeszow Regional Development Agency in Poland.  

Supported by Interreg Europe with nearly EUR 1 million in funding, ALICE will lay the groundwork for the development of an industry ecosystem that supports new partnerships and job creation in the animation sector. The objective is to develop proposals that are in line with the Animation Plan for Europe published in 2017 by the European Commission and in a view of the new Europe Creative Media Programme of the European Union (2021-2027).   

Over the next two years, ALICE's partners will exchange good practices that will lead to concrete recommendations on how to leverage resources and facilitate interregional cooperation in the animation sector. At the end of this period, the focus group will deliver a series of guidelines and good practices outlined in an action plan that focuses on four areas: facilitating co-productions, promoting development and mobility of talent, fostering entrepreneurship and creating innovative distribution channels. The third year of the project will be devoted to the implementation of this action plan.  

"This first meeting revealed a shared understanding despite our differences," says Philippe Reynaert, Wallimage's CEO. "We pointed out the factors hindering the development of co-production and decided to commission a study to tackle legal and tax issues and to assess our options in these matters.” Based on the case of the successful "Abraca" series co-produced by the French studio Mad Lad and Belgian studio Dreamwall, the discussion revolved around the increasing importance of optimizing regional funding support and exchanging talents. In the near future, compatibility of the various support mechanisms and cross-border movement of rights and talent will be critical to secure funding for interregional projects, enable mobility and promote the establishment of world-class European studios.   

ALICE promises to be prolific as the participants have already committed to exploring concrete solutions and adapting policies to support a change by the next session, which will take place in the Region of Puglia, Italy in the first half of 2020.