As a project promoting co-production of animated films in Europe, ALICE is at the intersection of different regions and various industry actors including creatives, regulators and educators. In this context, collaboration is not only a goal for ALICE, it is a modus operandi. One of its challenges is to facilitate private and public organisations to work together towards common objectives. For the project’s partners from Slovakia, the international animation festival Fest Anča was an opportunity to practice this.

At the festival’s last edition, the organisers worked together with the Ministry of Culture of Slovak Republic to propose a special event, innovative in its programme and its philosophy. The principle, simple and yet original, was to offer a space where "regulators" and "creatives" could speak about their projects: the Ministry of Culture presented the ALICE project; Slovak directors and producers, their next films; teachers and students, their schools and work. While focusing on promoting the tangible positive contributions of each participant to the industry, the event created an atmosphere of listening and respect, laying the groundwork for a successful and productive public-private networking session afterwards.

The Ministry presenting ALICE at Fest Anca 2021.

This collaboration initiative came mostly from Ivana Sujová, the director of the Fest Anča International Animation Festival, through her explorations of ways to create positive synergies between animation organisations, people and initiatives during the very challenging times of the global pandemic. As a stakeholder of the ALICE project, she had participated in the regular consultation meetings leading to initial recommendations for the sector and was willing to promote it as a driver for development. She also agreed to showcase ALICE’s territories by including a series of short films from Wallonia, the Apulia region and Slovakia in the festival’s line up.

For the Ministry, strengthening the relationships between the private and public actors in animation became a top priority at a time when government support was greatly needed by animation producers. Fest Anča provided a perfect promotional platform for their efforts to support animation, as well as an opportunity to bond with a wider audience of industry professionals.

Both organisations brought human, financial and technological resources to make the event successful with a limited budget. The festival provided the venue and equipment while the Ministry provided compelling, timely and informative content for festival attendees. This collaborative experience enabled them to initiate positive relationships between people with different operational realities, constraints and challenges. It could inspire other regions and organisations to focus on leveraging synergies to start conversations. Workshops, seminars or other types of events could be built on this principle.

Open communication between those who create animated content and those who set the funding and cooperation rules will be essential to develop a coherent and competitive animation industry in Europe in the years to come. Meanwhile, ALICE and Fest Anča 2021 have already decided to renew their partnership in 2021: more successes and stories are on the way!

As background: the importance of exchanging good practices

The objective of ALICE is to promote collaboration between European countries in the animation industry. In this spirit, collaboration is seen as an answer to the fierce international competition, as it makes it possible to produce ambitious projects while cultivating talents. Therefore, one of the foundations of the project is to practice collaboration by actively learning from, testing and potentially adopting what is being done in other regions/places or other sectors. The result of this collective, active and continuous approach is the implementation of new best practices, which make the lives of the industry players easier, help streamline communications, improve the efficiency of operations, and create new business opportunities.