A panel of personalities was invited to discuss the issue of adult animated film in a conversation titled “What is the strategy of adult animated film and where is it going?” at the fourth edition of Cannes Film Market Animation Day on Sunday.

Among the panelists was Dutch-born French filmmaker Jan Kounen (“Doberman,” “Blueberry,” “My Cousin”), who also presented his latest project “Epiphania” during the morning pitch sessions, alongside co -founder of Sun Creature (“Flee”). and producer Charlotte de La Gournerie, Bruno Felix, founder and co-CEO of Amsterdam-based Submarine (“They Shot the Piano Player”, “Where Is Anne Frank?”), and Amel Lacombe, CEO and founder of the indie-based company in Paris distributor Eurozoom.

Asked about the changing perception of adult animation, Lacombe, who runs Europe’s leading theatrical distributor of Japanese animation, alluded to the genre’s exponential growth over the past two years, saying, ” Change will come with big money and big business. The public is ready to go to the theaters to see adult entertainment. A few months ago, I released a remastered version of “Akira” in theaters and it was a huge success. Everyone said “It won’t work because they can find it everywhere on DVD and Blu-ray”. But people want to see it on the big screen, share the emotion and enjoy it like the show it was meant to be.

According to Felix, a growing number of people are interested in telling stories that bring together different realities and perspectives, and adult animation is a perfect way to do that. “The type of story we want to see right now is best told in animation. Our time has come as animation producers,” he said.

That seems to be the case for Kounen, whose current project, “Epiphania,” shown at Animation Day, will be his first animated feature film he directs. When asked why he decided to do this, he replied that the time had come: “For years, my favorite film was ‘Akira’. When I entered art school, I wanted to do animated films, so this project is very special.

“There are a lot of crossovers today, animation is flourishing. The boundaries between genres and techniques are blurring, like in all other sectors, opening up more possibilities, allowing to be more creative”, a- he declared.

Three-time Oscar nominee “Flee” is a perfect example of successful genre crossover according to De La Gournerie, who said the film industry would benefit from being less formatted.

“There are different schools and different commissioners, depending on the gender. We need to be more transversal. It was wonderful to see that ‘Flee’ was nominated in three different categories. [Best Animation Film, Best Documentary and Best International Film]. This had never happened before: it was simply recognized as a film.

If everyone agrees on the enormous influence of streamers in democratizing access to adult animation and in developing the taste of younger audiences, the genre could also play a key role in the return of the public to cinemas, according to Lacombe.

“We are all suffering – theaters and distributors – because the market is not returning to pre-COVID levels. We collectively need to take care of the cinematic experience if we don’t want to lose an entire generation of cinema, and adult animation is one way to do that,” she said. “I am confident about the figures for adult animation in theaters, it is an extremely rich environment and a major asset for theaters to bring audiences back.”

As platforms have seized on the anime craze, fueling appreciation for the genre – Netflix has announced it will be releasing 40 new anime titles across a growing range of genres in 2022 alone – some experts in the sector express the same fears as for documentaries: a risk of seeing content become more and more standardized for online consumption.

As an example, Lacombe said that young adults who binge-watch animation online will rarely know a director’s name.

“The [communication] the work done by the distributor before a release is to be cherished because a future generation of filmmakers working on this type of content will not produce the next Jane Campion,” she said.

Building a director’s reputation is the producer’s responsibility, Félix replied, adding that it’s all about positioning and finding the right audience for a film in the right territory, including reaching young adult audiences through their mediums. communication on social networks.

Ultimately, he says, there is room for everyone. “It’s a logical combination: there are complex and layered contemporary stories that work very well on platforms, which is a growing market and can work very well with feature films that are perfect for theatrical releases. “

A one-day event for the global animation film community, Animation Day is a joint initiative launched in 2019 by the Cannes Film Market and Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival, in partnership with Animation! Ventana Sur, the animation branch of Latin America’s leading film market.