More partnerships sought at Asian Animation Summit

  • Showcase of screenings and presentations of around 36 concepts from Australia, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore in early stages of financing and development
  • Revenue from the entire Malaysian creative industry forecast to hit RM16.1bil in 2013.

More partnerships sought at Asian Animation Summit
THE inaugural Asian Animation Summit (AAS) has kicked off at Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, showcasing some of Asia’s strongest and most commercially viable animation projects.
The AAS is a platform that brings together globally renowned animation experts who will facilitate and enable co-production and co-financing animation opportunities in the region.
With Malaysia playing host, the event was organized by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) in collaboration with the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) and Australia’s ABC TV, with support from Kidscreen Australia.
The two-day program features screenings and presentations of around 36 concepts from Australia, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore that are in early stages of financing and development. Of the 36 concepts being presented at the summit, 10 hail from Malaysia.
The AAS features two categories of animated projects. They include:

  • Fully-developed projects that have already raised at least 15% of their budgets, and are seeking further financing through broadcaster pre-sales and/ or co-production, co-financing and distribution arrangements.
  • Projects in development that have secured the endorsement of an Asian-region broadcaster, and are seeking co-producers and/ or broadcaster and distributor support for further development and production funding.

Each project is presented in a moderated live pitch format, with additional time provisioned for follow-up meetings and casual networking. This provides opportunities for budding animators and start-ups to get their creative projects off the ground by working with renowned international personalities in the creative arena.
The concepts are pitched to leading program buyers from television networks across the United Kingdom (UK), Europe, Canada and North America. These include buyers from the BBC and its children channel CBeebies, Nickelodeon International, Disney Channels Worldwide and France’ Televisions who will act as judges (pic above) during the moderated pitch sessions. 
The summit is also attended by broadcasters from the Asia Pacific region. They include Australia’s ABC TV, Malaysia’s Media Prima, Astro, RTM and TV Al-hijrah; Korea’s KBS, EBS and Tooniverse as well as Singapore’s Mediacorp.
Creative industry moving up
More partnerships sought at Asian Animation SummitSpeaking to members of the media, Kamil Othman (pic, left), vice president and director of the Creative Multimedia Division, MDeC, said Malaysia is at “the tipping point” of becoming a regional animation powerhouse
“Malaysia continues to rise to prominence in the animation industry since we ventured into the industry over a decade ago. Locally developed animation programs such as BoBoiBoy and Bola Kampung have garnered impressive international following and acclaim,” he said.  
Kamil also cited a Content Baseline Study commissioned by MDeC in 2008 that forecasted revenue from for the entire Malaysian creative industry to hit RM16.1 billion in 2013. The revenue of the Malaysian creative industry in 2008 was RM9.4 billion and MDeC reported that the industry has been enjoying a year-on-year growth rate of 10%.

[RM1 = US$0.33]
In addition, the forecasted revenue figure from exports is expected to hit RM360 million in 2012, with a target of RM400 million for 2013.
MDeC’s own stable of 257 MSC Malaysia status companies in the Creative Multimedia Cluster recorded revenues of RM6.1 billion in 2011. Of that total, exports accounted for RM3.65 billion while the remaining RM2.45 billion accounted for revenue generated from the domestic market.
With the introduction of the AAS, Kamil said local animators can add to their creative edge by enhancing their knowledge and skillsets via collaboration and engagement with prominent international experts.
“They will be able to pitch their creative concepts and learn how to balance great technical animation skills with creative and engaging stories,” he added.
He declined to share a target for deals at AAS, stating that he would be “happy to get five” but the focus remains on quality over quantity.
When asked about what MDeC has planned to address gaps in the eco-system of supporting services for the industry, such as the need for lawyers familiar with entertainment law and contracts in addition to industry-specific insurance packages, Kamil said that the agency was aware of the current gaps and highlighted the Creative Industry Lifelong Learning Program, which was launched in February of this year.
It grants funds to those seeking to study industry-relevant skills such as production accounting or animatronics.
To date the program, which was allocated RM10 million, has funded 126 people, with Kamil sharing that more funding has been allocated to the initiative for 2013.
Kim Dalton (above pic, right), director of ABC Television and chairman of the Supervisory Board, stressed the importance of partnerships in creative projects between markets, with each recognizing and leveraging on its own strengths.
He highlighted that Malaysia has many positive factors, such as the support from the Government, competitive infrastructure and financial investments.
He also noted a recent trend of more budding animation studios and talents from the region creating their own characters and stories and owning their own intellectual property (IP). He pointed to the AAS as an opportunity to for Malaysia to shift to a different footing toward that goal.
“We believe that these stories will have a global appeal and we are excited to see how we can work to co-fund and co-produce some of these interesting new ideas,” he added.

Caption for Judges' Picture Above:
 (Seated from L to R): Nicole Keeb, Head of International Co-Productions & Acquisitions, Children and Youth, ZDF, Laurence Blaevoet, Director of Youth Programming, Canal+, Luca Milano, Head of Animation Production, RAI Fiction, Kim Wilson, Creative Head, Children's and Youth Programming, CBC Canada, Karen Miller, Executive Director of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Disney Channels Worldwide including Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior, Tiphaine de Raguenel, Head of Children and Youth Activities, France Télévisions, Sarah Muller, Head of CBBC Acquisitions and Drama Development and Jules Borkent, Senior Vice President, Programming & Acquisitions, Nickelodeon International.
(Standing from L to R): Jocelyn Christie, Vice President and Publisher, Kidscreen, Frank Dietz, Deputy Program Director and Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Super RTL, Carole  Bonneau, Vice President Programming, Teletoon Canada and Jocelyn Hamilton, Vice President Original Programming Kids, Comedy & Drama, Corus Entertainment

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