Animation in Europe’s Philippe Alessandri

Animation in Europe formed in 2016 to represent the interests of independent animation producers and distributors of European content. Now, eight years on from its founding, the group federates producers’ associations in 20 countries from the European Union and continues to advocate for the development of the region’s animation industry on both a local and global level. Philippe Alessandri, chairman of the Animation in Europe board and founder and CEO of Watch Next Media, talks to TV Kids Weekly about the federation’s goals, achievements and suggestions for the future.

TV KIDS: Tell me about Animation in Europe’s overall mission.
ALESSANDRI: Animation in Europe promotes the development of European independent producers of animation series and films through an ecosystem that combines public financing and mandatory investments from any media service aimed at European children and families. Animation in Europe also facilitates better engagement and relationships between our community of European animation producers.

TV KIDS: What has Animation in Europe achieved since its inception in 2016?
ALESSANDRI: Animation in Europe members meet twice a year at MIFA in Annecy and at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, and [the federation] organizes regular meetings for its members with global players (Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, etc.).

In collaboration with the Catalan Producers’ Association, the federation co-organizes an annual forum (ANIMAR) for policymakers, broadcasters and producers to debate the challenges and opportunities of the animation industry. The second forum [was] held in Barcelona from November 22 to 24, 2023.

Animation in Europe also advises the European Commission on various media directives such as the Animation Action Plan, the Audiovisual Media Services (AMS) Directive and the reform of the Creative Europe Media fund. We have regular exchanges with the management team of Creative Europe MEDIA in Brussels.

TV KIDS: With the addition of Estonia, Greece and Portugal last year, there are now 20 countries in the group. What does it mean for those countries now that they are a part of the federation? And do you plan to continue expanding?
ALESSANDRI: Estonia, Greece and Portugal will be able to learn from the other members’ experience in trying to create an ecosystem to foster animation production. Those countries will also have a say in the discussions about European media policy. Animation in Europe aims to represent all EU member states and is currently trying to get the few remaining non-affiliated countries on board.

TV KIDS: How has the federation advocated for public funding for animated projects throughout Europe?
ALESSANDRI: The federation works on the harmonization and optimization of public funding at the regional, national and European levels. Some of the existing regional and national funds should be more flexible in their eligibility criteria in order to encourage and incentivize co-productions to be carried out within the EU.

TV KIDS: How is the group pushing for more diversity and inclusion in European animation?
ALESSANDRI: Animation in Europe has supported Creative Europe in the addition of diversity and inclusion criteria to its selection process for financial support.

TV KIDS: The European AMS Directive is up for review again no later than 2025. What does Animation in Europe propose the E.U. can do with this to help further the animation sector?
ALESSANDRI: The U.S. streamers have invested massively in European fiction but not that much in animation, and when they do invest, it is almost [always] only through service work models. We want European children to be able to watch European animated series and films and, to ensure that, a principle of diversity in the European quotas and mandatory investments should be added to the AMS Directive. Animation content made in Europe is successful worldwide but is underrepresented on U.S. streaming platforms.