A year ago, as the ALICE project had just kicked off in Wallonia, the partnership undertook a process to identify and evaluate the main challenges faced by animation SMEs across its six territories. The first meetings held with stakeholders between December 2019 and January 2020 aimed to rigorously define the most important issues and articulate the specific characteristics of each territory.

In the Apulia region, the stakeholders expressed the need for the whole sector to be strengthened economically in order to foster cooperation and attract talent. They pointed out the lack of an organized professional network suitable for on-going dialogues and new collaborations within the industry. They indicated that the region had the necessary creativity to be turned into an attractive audiovisual hub to showcase talent and innovation on an international stage.

On 31 July 2020, the Apulia Film House was inaugurated in Bari. The new venue has been designed as a film and new media community center for the public as well as companies and freelance workers specialized in the digital sector in Apulia (including animation, gaming, cross-media, virtual effects, post production). Offering an innovative platform for production, a learning center and a cinema for diverse audiences, it is intended to become a top-level regional House for Cinema and the Audiovisual Sector with strong international connections. The Apulia Film Commission Foundation and Apulia Region stressed the crucial role the ALICE project had played in accelerating the maturing of the initiative.

 Apulia Film House, Bari, 2020

This is a first step towards the implementation of an animation sector growth strategy drafted by the Apulia region within the frame of the ALICE project. This strategy aims to create a favorable ecosystem for development and outreach in the local industry, based on four pillars including a competitive labor market, company clusters and innovative studios, first-class student and professional training programs focusing on advanced technologies and strong Government support. As the leader of ALICE’s ‘Entrepreneurship & Training’ working group, the Apulia region is actively working hand in hand with the partnership’s stakeholders to define a refined classification of qualifications and professional profiles, as well as design training programs fitting the needs and international ambitions of the animation sector.

For the region, the ALICE project has been a launching pad for more cooperation within the industry. The promising first results reflect the active involvement of SMEs, educational and political institutions as well as governments. They prove once again the relevance of the ALICE project, and demonstrate the potential for success.