Helmer to develop film through Bridgit Folman Film Gang

“Waltz With Bashir” helmer Ari Folman has set Polish author Stanislaw Lem’s “The Futurological Congress” as his next project.

The sci-fi, written in 1971, follows a man at a conference on global overpopulation who’s besieged by government and rebel forces.

“It was my all-time science fiction favorite ever since I was a student,” Folman said. “One of the advantages of animation is that it can be dubbed into any language so we’ll start with making it in English.”

Folman will develop the project through his animated shingle, the Bridgit Folman Film Gang, which he founded to work on “Waltz With Bashir,” one of the buzz titles in competition coming in to Cannes.

Despite the critical praise, however, “Waltz” is proving a pickle for U.S. buyers.

Execs from several major studio specialty divisions confessed to admiring the pic but were adopting a wait-and-see attitude in terms of making a bid, at least in public.

Germany’s the Match Factory is handling international sales.

Pic’s hard-hitting subject matter, coupled with a shattering denouement that looks likely to become a fest talking point and an aesthetic that combines animation, documentary and poetic visuals, could make it a tougher sell than last year’s feted animated pic “Persepolis.”

“I see this as a small, art-house film and it is difficult to watch,” Folman said. “Whatever it makes will be fine by me. There’s no way I can change the movie just to sell it. With the ending I didn’t want you to leave the theater and just think this was a cool war movie with beautiful drawings and an amazing score. I want you to know that behind those beautiful drawings, real people — women, children and old people — were slaughtered in their thousands.”

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