According to the “European Animation, VFX & Games Industry: Strategies, Trends & Opportunities, 2018” report, the European animation industry was worth $45.4 billion last year and is projected to reach $46.2 billion by 2020. As a region, the Adriatic is home to both established (Italy) and emerging (Croatia) markets. Many of these nations could benefit even more from the global demand for cartoon content driven by Subscription Video On-Demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube.
As the bridge between local studios and the international industry, Toon Boom Animation is growing opportunities for creators and its reach by facilitating productions in the Adriatic through its new sales agent, Federico Vallarino. A lifelong fan of animation with well over 12 years’ industry experience, he was educated at IED, Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Vallarino’s career has included work in both studios and as a freelancer — helping produce television series, advertisements, web content, edutainment DVDs, character designs and more.
Source: Federico Vallarino.
In 2012, he founded his own studio, Vallaround, that produces animated content and trains artists in Toon Boom animation software including Toon Boom Harmony and Toon Boom Storyboard Pro. Those who follow European animation closely may also recognize Vallarino for his IP Koouka, which won the MIPJunior International Pitch 2013 in Cannes, France.
In his new role as Adriatic sales agent, Vallarino will support other animators in producing their own incredible work and oversee: Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Malta, Hungary, Romania, Greece and his native Italy.
Studios and artists in the Adriatic region and Southern Europe hoping to produce animation in Toon Boom software can reach Federico Vallarino at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curious about what else he’s done? The Toon Boom blog sat down with Federico Vallarino to chat about his career thus far, Koouka and what he will bring to animation in the Adriatic.
Hi Federico! Tell us a little bit about yourself. Have you always loved animation?
FV: Hi there. Yes, I have loved animation since I was a child. I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with it, but I know that when I was nine years old I was dreaming of working in the industry.
Speaking of which, how many years have you been in the industry?
FV: I’ve been working in the animation industry since 2006, so 12 years now. I started my career working on a cable series and after that became a freelancer doing a variety of projects. In 2012, I founded my company, Vallaround. My biggest achievement though was winning the MIPJunior International Pitch 2013 in Cannes with my IP Koouka.
What was it like receiving that recognition? Also, what’s the status of Koouka today?
FV: It was totally unexpected! My distributor at the time, Anna D’Alessandro, phoned me and said, ”Fede, I’ve submitted Koouka to the MIPJunior International Pitch and guess what? We’ve been selected for the shortlist! Go pack your luggage, we’re going to Cannes!” After a nerve-wracking pitching session in front of an intimidating jury —including professionals from Disney, CBeebies, Canal+, Globosat and producer Kenn Vislemann— I was totally unprepared when they announced Koouka was the winner!
That prize gave me a lot of credibility in Italy and also showed me anything is possible. After Cannes, I recruited several talented artists to work on the project, developing and structuring the concept, and we have since been selected at Cartoon Forum. At the moment, we are still in discussions for a potential coproduction of the project and are also building a style guide for licensing and merchandising.
I’m sure it also adds to your credibility in Italy that you are on the board of Animation Italia.
FV: It’s kind of a new thing. I’ve been a member of Animation Italia for three years now, but I only joined the board recently. My focus is on developing more interaction between the educational and professional worlds.
To step back a little, where and when did you first come into contact with Toon Boom animation software?
FV: I discovered Toon Boom software on my first production in 2006 — we were using Toon Boom Studio 3.5!
And why do you think Toon Boom animation software is the best in the world?
FV: I’ve had the chance to try several animation softwares and I believe Toon Boom digital solutions offer the most complete package available. Harmony is like a Swiss army knife for animation, it’s unfortunate most people only use 20 percent of the software. And everyone knows Storyboard Pro is the industry-standard software for storyboarding and animatics.
So what is the animation market like in the Adriatic region?
FV: I’m really excited to represent Toon Boom Animation in the Adriatic region as it’s a market with huge potential that our industry-leading software and global connections can help producers tap into. I believe there is incredible talent in the region. For example, this year’s edition of Cartoon Forum included six projects from the Balkans.
Are there any specific Toon Boom-produced animation projects happening in the Adriatic you would like to highlight?
FV: I’ve already discovered a project from Bulgaria called The Golden Apple being produced by Studio Zmei in a Toon Boom pipeline. It’s a cut-out series about Bulgarian myths that has great designs and I believe could be a huge success.
And finally, what will you bring to Toon Boom customers in the Adriatic region and Southern Europe?
FV: Besides being a natural problem solver, my technical knowledge and creativity help me to truly understand the needs of the customer and find the best solutions for every situation. And, of course, I also bring to the table some great Italian cooking skills!
Animators in the Adriatic region and Southern Europe can connect with our sales agent Federico Vallarino at: email@example.com.
Banner image source: Vallaround.