Euro Animated Films Offer "Darker" Art House Alternative to Hollywood, Exec Says

Courtesy of gkids
'My Life as a Zucchini'

Mathias Noschis of London film marketing firm Alphapanda says animated films like 'Vincent' and 'My Life as a Zucchini' have global appeal.

European animation films offer a "darker" ar thouse alternative to Hollywood fare and can become global hits by pushing the boundaries of "new ways of storytelling," a leading film marketing executive says.

Mathias Noschis, who as founder of London-based Alphapanda has developed online PR and social media campaigns for Hollywood films, including The Lego Ninjago Movie, Kung Fu Panda 3, Ice Age: Collision Course, Toy Story 3 and Rango, says European animation is perfectly positioned to take on the world.

"Europe has already managed to position itself as a strong region for art house animation that pushes the boundaries and explores new ways of storytelling and new styles of animation," Noschis tells The Hollywood Reporter. "My Life as a Zucchini is a great example of that creativity. Both the animation and the storyline can be considered much darker than the average Hollywood family animation film. But it did prove extremely successful. So I do believe Europe should definitely continue in that direction, and position itself more and more as a leading region for art house animation."

His comments came after the conclusion of a European Union-backed industry event in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana last week, the Central and Eastern European Animation Workshop, at which Noschis was a guest tutor.

The event, organized in coordination with the EU's Creative Europe's MEDIA program, brought together animation producers from 18 countries across central and eastern Europe to encourage growth in the industry and "lay the groundwork to enable [the] development of successful co-productions [that] will be competitive internationally," organizers said.

Noschis says all the elements are in place for European producers of animation to forge those elements.

"This workshop is paving the way to something that is highly needed in the European film industry and in the animation sector in particular," says Noschis.

Because of high numbers and high budgets, animation requires a very specific type of "co-opetition" between companies that compete with each other internally but are also able to partner towards external partners or to lobby together.

Noschis says that now is "a very exciting time for animation in Europe" with "extremely interesting and diverse projects" coming out, including My Life as a Zucchini, Song of the Sea, Ooops! Noah Is Gone and Zombillenium.

"For the past five years, there has always been at least one European nominee for the best-animated feature Oscar, and European animation features are very well represented in A-list festivals," he adds. "Poland has already proven to be a strong animation country with Loving Vincent and the upcoming Another Day of Life. I’m confident that we will see some pretty strong films coming from the rest of the region in the next few years."

The one area European animation producers should be paying more attention to, Noschis says, is promotion.

"Europeans are still too weak when it comes to using social media to promote films, for both live-action and animation," he asserts. "We often have to create campaigns with an extremely limited number of promotional assets, whereas the key for a successful social media campaign is having cool material to post and share."