High-profile toon pic debut from Gay

BARCELONA — Lux Animation has boarded Cesc Gay’s animated “The Triplets and the Machine That Runs the World,” now moving into production in Spain.

The Luxembourg-based studio and production house, headed by managing director Eric Anselin, will co-produce with Barcelona-based Cromosoma.

“Machine” is Gay’s toon feature debut. The Catalan director and animation enthusiast carved out a career with live-action features including 2000′s “Nico and Dani,” 2003′s “In the City” and 2007′s Mar del Plata fest winner “Fiction.” Gay co-directs with Baltasar Pedrosa from a screenplay by Gay, Anna Manso and Francesc Orteu.

The pic is a spin-off from the Cromosoma-produced “The Triplets,” one of the most successful toon TV series in Spanish history that has been broadcast in 140 countries and dubbed into 35 languages.

Carrying a light ecological message, “Machine” centers on weather disasters that ensue when an umbrella salesman tinkers with a giant collection of machines that work the world’s climate.

Budgeted at €6 million ($8.2 million), “Machine” has pulled down $2.5 million in financing, split between Catalonia’s Institute of Cultural Industries and Catalan pubcaster TV3, which also co-produces. Spanish pubcaster TVE has pre-bought the film.

“Machine” is at the stage of graphic development, said Cromosoma producer Dani Martinez, adding that it’s skedded for release early 2014, targeting 5-to-8 year olds and their parents.

Lux’s co-production equity in “Machine” may be the beginning of a production alliance.

According to Martinez, Cromosoma is studying co-producing Lux toon series “Burny the Little Dragon,” a buzz title at September’s Cartoon Forum, about a dragon trying to find its place in the world.

Meanwhile, Cromosoma’s “Wrinkles,” co-produced with Perro Verde, is one of 18 toons announced last week that qualify for the animated feature Oscar.

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