Held online on 29 July 2020, the second stakeholders’ meeting of the Puglia region focused on funding, innovation and the creation of a professional network in animation, continuing from the discussions started in January 2020. Participants included artistic directors and project managers from various animation companies, freelance workers and representatives from the Apulia Film Commission. For the Region, the session was an opportunity to follow up on on-going issues holding back the development of the regional animation sector, continue to collect ideas from the industry to create a more competitive ecosystem for animation, and present what had been accomplished, by ALICE and by the Region itself.

During the meeting, the Apulia Film Commission announced the creation of Apulia Film Fund 2020. The € 5M program, launched in response to the animation industry’s long-expressed need for more production funding and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, is dedicated to feature films and series. With this program, micro, small and medium-sized companies can apply for € 300.000,00 to € 700.000,00 grants to fund the production phase of their projects. Projects are assessed upon financial and creative criteria, their innovative character and their positive impact on the culture and audiovisual market.

In January, the stakeholders had underlined the lack of connection between animation companies and independent workers as a major obstacle to development and a cause for lost opportunities. The new Apulia Film House, to be inaugurated on 31 July 2020, aims to address that need. Located in Bari, the Film House means to be a film and new media center for children, adults and families, as well as a community hub for innovative audiovisual companies, professionals and international stakeholders. As such, it will provide a dedicated space to organize and attend industry networking meetings, workshops and events. This public initiative, allowing industry people to connect over projects and boost individual careers, is fully aligned with ALICE’s objectives of building up competitiveness.

This second meeting reaffirmed the stakeholders’ responsiveness to ALICE’s project and the orientations the project is taking. The new funding and an industry space which opened amid the COVID-19 crisis are two significant steps that prove the strategic importance of the animation sector for the future growth of the Region. With ALICE, it will continue to take action for local SMEs and their European partners, thus contributing to the larger development of the European animation industry.