On 18 July 2021, our partners from the Rzeszów region presented the ALICE project to European producers at the International Animated Film Festival ANIMATOR, Poland’s biggest cultural event devoted to animation. The presentation took place as part of an online panel on ‘Prospects for co-production and distribution of animated series in Poland and Europe’, moderated by Polish Film Institute expert Zofia Jaroszuk. Panel participants included representatives from the animation studios GS Animation, Letko, EGoFILM and Animoon, as well as from the production and distribution company Momakin.

During the first part of the event, the discussion focused on the strengths and shortcomings of the Polish funding system for animation. The panelists recognized the value of the national cash rebate granted to support animated productions (including series), which not only provides funding but is also a good argument to convince potential foreign co-producers. However, they pointed out the general lack of funding devoted to animation and, in particular, the necessity for more support from the regions, as well as local and national banks and broadcasters. Today in Poland, producers have to be very creative to be able to complete their financing: this can be achieved through intensive story and talent pitching to any potential international partners, in-kind partnerships with foreign studios, and – in very rare cases - deals with streaming platforms (Netflix, etc) bringing both funding and audiences. Thus, funding remains the main limiting factor for really growing the industry while being involved in large co-production projects with international outreach.

The second part of the event was dedicated to the ALICE presentation, to which participants listened with great attention. The goals of the project, including providing easier access to funding, facilitating co-production and building a European network of animation professionals resonated with them. They were very interested in hearing more about ALICE's tools and recommendations to help European producers join forces to co-produce projects that can compete with major international studios’. The announcement of the upcoming release of the ALICE project whitepaper, which compiles all the project proposals to do so, was enthusiastically received.

For the ALICE partners, it is now time to respond to the hopes of producers by taking action. The question of funds and harmonisation of co-production rules from one country to another is a major issue, which can only be solved in the medium term and will require policy changes. However, while discussions with policy makers will be going on, positive change can be initiated in the short term: over the next 12 months, ALICE’s Polish partners have committed to helping build a strong professional network as well as business/university partnerships as a resource for a competitive and efficient workforce to support the whole industry.

Watch the event here: fb.watch/6M1TjyN0iI/