Ukrainian producers Anna Eliseeva, Egor Olesov and Iryna Kostyuk – who had just left the car after driving the two-day drive between Kyiv and Cannes – kicked off this year’s Annecy Goes to Cannes Animation Day with a call to arms .
“While Ukraine is fighting against Russia, we have to keep fighting culturally,” said Olesov, whose “Mavka, The Forest Song” project (pictured) was one of five ongoing works presented at a morning session on May 22. “Culture is our most powerful weapon right now, and we need to show ours to the world. This is why our team is twice as motivated.
A 3D family adventure inspired by Ukrainian folklore, the long-running project was selected for Cartoon Movie Bordeaux in 2017 and 2018 and has been in production since long before that. Now that the deals have been signed and delivery is still slated for September, the film crew faces unusual pressures even in the most frantic of deadlines.
“Many of our animators work in bomb shelters,” Kostyuk explained. “They were moved and scattered everywhere. Some of them are in occupied territories, facing Russian soldiers and tanks as they work to complete the film.
Although the project has already secured distribution in a number of international territories, the film’s domestic future remains uncertain. “We don’t know when the domestic release will be,” Eliseeva said. “We say it will happen after we win – and it will be very nice.”
Of course, “Mavka, The Forest Song” was somewhat of an outlier at Annecy Goes to Cannes, an ongoing pitch jointly organized by Cannes Marché du Film and Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival, as the other four titles arrived at much earlier stages of development. While the “Mavka” team was asking for international support, the other four development projects were looking for international partners.
Directed by Zoltan Horvath, Jean-Jacques Kahn and Franck Van Leeuwen, and produced by Swiss company Nadasdy Films, the boxing drama “With Closed Fists” tells the true story of Young Perez, a Tunisian Jewish immigrant who became the most young world flyweight champion, and his older brother Kid, who survived the war and carried on his brother’s legacy. Heading into production, the project will use motion capture to punch up boxing fights while combining 2D computer animation, 3D graphics and paint with a visual style meant to resemble an engraving.
‘Lollipop’ director Lisa Marie Russo called her visual touchstone a ‘dangerous Disney’, explaining that her semi-autobiographical story would deal with a woman’s battle with breast cancer with the vibrant colors, graphics 2D and accessible character designs from some early 90s movies. A non-fiction producer and former head of the BFI Documentary Fund, Russo has also harnessed the imaginative and dreamlike potential of animation, particularly when exploring a subject most often painted in tones of docu-realism. Fly Films and Enter Yes will produce.
Directed by Naïa Productions and based on a trilogy of best-selling French graphic novels, “Epiphania” directed by Jan Kounen tells a father-son story, following a human man and his adopted hybrid child through a landscape of science. – sprawling fiction. Series writer Ludovic Debeurme has already set the tone with his dense and thoughtful saga, and now Kounen is working with animation studio Mac Guff Ligne to translate Debeurme’s graphic novel designs into scalable 3D models. As he embarks on his first animated feature, Kounen will use the set of tools he has assembled over the past few years to achieve immersive and virtual reality experiences.
Compared to a 1990s indie comedy, director Joël Vaudreuil’s “Quand Adam Change” is a 2D learning tale about the horrors of puberty. Like a distant Quebec cousin to the early works of Mike Judge, Vaudreuil deals with the awkwardness of adolescence by giving each character a unique form and figure, nothing more than Adam himself, whose body incorporates all the taunts that he receives. In the projected images, the lanky teenager hangs out with a possible crush, watches cheesy game shows and experiences an eerily comfortable midsummer discomfort of being young and bored and not having much to do. Because Movies produces.
Three weeks after Annecy Goes to Cannes, the world of animation is meeting in Annecy for a major festival-MIFA market edition, from June 13 to 18.