Magazine article Variety

Tooning in Global Markets

Magazine article Variety

Tooning in Global Markets

Article excerpt

French animation producers hope to take on majors

For more than a decade, France has been a top purveyor of such auteurish toons as "Kirikou," "Persepolis" and "A Cat in Paris." Today, a new breed of producer-driven projects is about to come into the market with ambitions of targeting the same demo as Hollywood animated tentpoles.

A driving factor of that upward production trend is the proven international potential of toons in theaters and in secondary markets. "The French box office has its limits, (but) distributors and audiences worldwide generally have an appetite for French animated fare," says , program chair at Paris FX, the two-day forum dedicated to animation and visual effects.

Indeed, a recent study from promotion org Unifrance showed that over the past 10 years more than 85% of Gallic toon titles travel and they sell to more territories than live-action pics. Many sales are TV deals, per Unifrance general manager Gilles Renouard.

"The Ghosts of Pere Lachaise" and "Ballerina" are two mainstream animated features budgeted in the euro20 million ($25.4 million) range. Each is backed by powerful indie players who are venturing into the toon biz with established animation studios as partners.

Alain Attal at Les Productions du Tresor, whose credits include Maiwenn's "Polisse" and Guillaume Canet's "Blood Ties," is producing "Lachaise" with Carine Ruszniewski and Carole Lambert at De Films en Aiguille, the outfit behind Shola Lynch's Toronto-preeming "Free Angela & All Political Prisoners." Jean Francois Bourrel's studio's Chez Eddy is co-producing and creating the animation.

Meanwhile "Ballerina" is produced by Quad Films' Nicolas Duval, Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun, the team of smash B.O. hit "The Intouchables" and "Heartbreaker." Quad tapped Canadian-based Blue Bug Entertainment to work on the animation.

"Ballerina" is directed by Eric Warin and Eric Summer. …

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