The story of ALICE began two years ago, when six partners enthusiastically committed to a project whose activities, meetings and site visits were planned, scheduled and booked. At the time, no one could expect a pandemic would restrict global movement to the bare minimum, and by the same token, reduce our collaborations to the space of the Zoom meeting room. Like so many other projects, ALICE struggled to get ideas off the ground through the exchanges of good practices, well-crafted agendas, and the trials of new technologies.  With ALICE progressing, our desire to confront the project’s results with specialists, professionals and decision-makers grew. At the same time, one of the most significant international events for the whole industry approached, inviting people to join in person. In the midst of uncertainty, we decided to organise an event at Annecy Animation Festival’s MIFA, not knowing who could actually travel there.

The success of the event exceeded our expectations. We opted for a hybrid format (as opposed to 100% online), a risky but sensible choice as we figured that at least those of us located at a drivable distance from Annecy would be able to attend the event in-person. Soon after, we booked a spot: our one-hour event would take place on 17 June 2021, as part of MIFA’s conference programme. And now what? We still had to reflect on the most relevant manner to go about promoting ALICE’s results. A two-part session, including a dynamic pre-recorded presentation and a live Q&A between ALICE’s experts and online audiences seemed to be the way to go. In order to stand out and allow a fluid conversation to happen, it was important to have experts physically seated in the same room. As for the presentation, the challenge was to spark interest among the animation community by making the sophisticated solutions developed by ALICE intelligible in a matter of minutes. What better way to achieve this than through interviews?

At this point, we decided to present our most complete works: the industry mapping methodology as well as the network and funding tools making up ALICE’s ‘Wonderland’ of European territories. The important points to communicate about the relevance, key principles and expected benefits of these new instruments would be addressed by relevant project partners through a series of simple questions asked by a novice moderator. The cherry on the cake would be the intervention of a distinguished guest who could convince industry professionals and policy makers that the suite of solutions could be implemented in the near future. All we had to do now was to select the best people to answer the questions, and to book Zoom interviews with each of them in advance of the event.

Philippe Reynart (Wallimage) and Mar Sáez Pedrero (PROA) proved to be the perfect cast: within the span of 10 minutes each, they gave crystal clear explanations of the origins of their proposals, how they had emerged from the collaborative work of dedicated working groups, and how they had the power to profoundly change the industry. To our delight, Lucia Recalde, the Head of Creative Europe’s Media Programme, agreed to take a role in the story as well. In her interview, Mrs. Recalde praised the intelligence and pioneering nature of ALICE’s recommendations, stressing that the proposals of ALICE to facilitate cross-border connections and the co-development of animated projects were fully in line with Creative Europe’s approach and new MEDIA plan for 2021-2027. The compilation of these interviews, punctuated by an introduction from our partner Pictanovo and musical interludes provided by the MIFA, created a compelling 40-minute video.

On the 17th, after 18 months working remotely, Philippe Reynaert and Flore de Bayser (Wallimage), Ivan Agenjo (representing PROA) and Godefroy Vujicic (Pictanovo) all met physically at the Splendid Hotel to lead the event! With MIFA’s technical assistance, everything went smoothly. After briefly being introduced with warm greetings from Philipp, the interview video played and triggered interesting questions for the live online Q&A that followed.

Our event attracted 138 attendees, which corresponds to the average number of views for the other MIFA online events. However, the market’s organisers noted the average viewing duration of 30 minutes was well above average, signifying the strong interest of our audiences. The dynamism of the event Q&A and the positive feedback we received during the in-person stakeholder meeting that followed at the Splendid are also excellent indicators of the quality of our presentation. Most importantly, this initiative triggered new collaborations with policy influencers, which bodes well for the future of ALICE: MIFA organisers have already suggested a renewed collaboration for 2022, and Creative Europe is now following the progress of the project, not to mention the imminent release of the whitepaper… This story is still to be continued!