Poe toon anthology set up at Melusine, Armateurs

Belgium’s The Big Farm will co-produce Raul Garcia’s 3D toon anthology “Extraordinary Tales,” with Farm’s Digital Graphics providing animation.

Big Farm’s commitment completes the co-production structure on one of Europe’s most-awaited animated literary adaptations. A toon makeover of five Edgar Allan Poe short stories, “Tales” is lead-produced by Stephan Roelants’ Melusine Prods. Roelants co-owns Big Farm with Serge Ume and Marc Ume. The Umes head Digital Graphics.

Garcia’s Los Angeles-based R&R Communications and Didier Brunner’s Paris-based Les Armateurs also co-produce.

Luxembourg’s Studio 352, Melusine’s sister company, provides further animation work. Producer-director Arnaud Demuynck’s Les Films du Nord oversees artistic production.

Work-in-progress footage from “Extraordinary Tales” will be presented at the 13th Cartoon Movie event in Lyon, France, which kicks off today.

“Tales” is a passion project for Garcia, a former animator at Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks. It builds on his 2005 adaptation of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” also produced by Melusine, made in black and white. Other four segs are in color, plying distinctive visual styles, Roelants said.

Completed, “The Fall of the House of Usher” channels Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch, Roelants said. In production, “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar” draws on the look of U.S. 1940s-50s comicbooks.

“The film is both modern and classic at the same time,” Roelants said.

A Bela Lugosi radio recording provided voiceover on “Heart”; Christopher Lee voices “Usher.”

Production is yet to start on the two remaining shorts, “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Mask of the Red Death.”

“Tales” continues the collaboration between Melusine, Armateurs and Digital Graphics. Originally a pre-production and animation services provider via Studio 352 on U.S. Saturday morning shows for Disney and DiC Entertainment, among others, Melusine is a minority co-producer on Armateurs’ upcoming toon feature “Ernest and Celestine.” Digital Graphics created “Celestine’s” water-colored graphics.

“Extraordinary Tales” will be ready for delivery in summer 2012, said Roelants. “We are really taking our time, developing each segment’s artistic direction, establishing the movie’s look before going to the international market,” he added.

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