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Mark Mertens

Mark Mertens
Fabrique d’Images
Pitching: Ice Breakers

What is the biggest issue facing the animation industry right now?
The recruitment of talent is definitely a big issue. Everyone is trying to recruit artists at the moment and we feel we are more limited by artist availability than by budgets.

What is your company doing in response to this?
We’re trying to be as attractive as possible, aiming to constantly increase the quality of our productions in order to be appealing to the audiences but also as an animation studio. We’re allowing remote work where possible within the limits of the Luxembourg regulations.

How do you see the rise of the metaverse impacting animation?
The challenge is to understand how to make use of the new technology and ideas that will emerge in the coming years. The metaverse offers exciting ways of experimenting with the art of storytelling and exploring new ways for interaction and immersion with the audience.

The metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality and other technological innovations will push the boundaries of visual entertainment and interactivity, putting the audience at the centre of any project and thus increasing a strong emotional attachment and we will need to think about completely new ways of telling stories.

How do you work with YouTube Kids and is it a platform that supports high-quality animation producers?
For a year we’ve been working on our first preschool project that will be exclusively shown on YouTube, so we certainly believe in the potential of YouTube Kids. For European producers, it will be important that regional funds will consider funding high-quality productions specially made for YouTube Kids.

Tell us about the project you are pitching at Cartoon Forum.
Ice Breakers (52×7’) is an animated slapstick comedy. Adrift in the vast immensity of the polar waters, the imposed coexistence of a penguin and an Arctic fox, along with an eclectic group of other animals, will lead them into crazy adventures that begin in everyday circumstances and end up escalating to extreme and edgy consequences all over the world. Gapbusters in Belgium is coproducing.


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