By Leah Hochbaum Rosner

The RAI Trade sponsored Cartoons on the Bay will hold its 13th annual animation-centric event just after MIP-TV, April 2-5, in Rapallo, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino, Italy. All three towns are a three-hour car ride from Cannes.

The festival will offer up its prestigious Pulcinella Awards for the best that the cartoon world has to offer. Following the recent appointment of Roberto Genovesi as the new artistic director for the festival, VideoAge checked in with Cartoons on the Bay’s newest head honcho to determine his vision for the event, what he expects from the 2009 edition and why he believes animation will continue to flourish worldwide for years to come.

To underscore the significance of this improved event “under new management,” VideoAge will be focusing on Cartoons on the Bay in the Day Four edition of its MIP-TV Daily.

VideoAge International: Describe Cartoons on the Bay and what the event has come to mean to the international animation industry.

Roberto Genovesi: Cartoons on the Bay is one of the most important international festivals dedicated to television animation, and this edition will open the gates to multimedia and interactive animation. Nowadays, it is impossible to be close-minded anymore since animation is a most versatile means of communication, as it can be developed on different platforms — interactive, digital terrestrial television, mobile phones and videogames.

VAI: Since you only just recently joined the organization, what changes will you bring to Cartoons on the Bay?

RG: The most important changes have been made to the Pulcinella Awards, with the introduction of two new categories: interactive animation and cross-media projects. These are clear examples of the new vision of the festival, to create connections between comics, animation and multimedia. We’ll also take a special look at other aspects of animation, with exhibitions dedicated to comics and case histories on videogames.

VAI: Describe the status of animation around the globe.

RG: After a look at the works submitted to the competition this year — which are more than 400 coming from over 40 countries — we’ve noticed the growth of small and independent productions, especially from developing countries. A clear example comes from Cuba, guest country of this year’s edition, where, despite the global economic crisis, resources have been invested in both animation and kids. Italy is an example of a country with a long tradition of animation. And it keeps developing its creativity — not only in animation, but also in cross-media projects. Italians have long understood the potential of the latter, which is why the majority of programs submitted to the Pulcinella Awards in the new cross-media projects category have come from Italy.

VAI: Describe some of the highlights of Cartoons on the Bay 2009.

RG: A major highlight of the event will be the presence of Yoshiyuki Tomino, creator of Gundam, who will be in Italy to celebrate the 30th birthday of his most acclaimed work. Another highlight will be Pink Day, an entire day dedicated to entertainment for girls. It is extremely important to understand the language and the approach producers take towards a female public.

VAI: What is Cartoons on the Bay’s relationship to RAI Trade?

RG: RAI Trade is the organizer of the festival. And this year — more than ever before — RAI is putting in its greatest effort to launch Cartoons on the Bay even higher in the international panorama.

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