Now in pre-production, the 1884-set animated fare, helmed by Canadian duo Eric Warin and Eric Summer, tells the tale of Felice, an 11-year-old orphan girl from Brittany who dreams of becoming a ballerina at the Paris Opera. Together with Corentin, a little boy she meets at the orphanage, Felice flees to Paris to chase her dream.
Ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied (“Black Swan”) has been tapped to supervise the choreography. Motion capture will be used to record Millepied’s performance. Bruno Coulais (“Farewell My Queen”) wrote the original score.
Nicolas Duval, Laurent Zeitoun and Yann Zenou are producing. Gaumont is co-producing, and reps “Ballerina” for international markets and will distribute in Gaul. Meanwhile, eOne has nabbed all distribution rights for Canada.
Gaumont is in talks to close the U.K., all of Eastern Europe, South Korea and Benelux.
Although Gaumont has been involved in animated films before, “Ballerina” is the first bigger-budget mainstream animated feature that the shingle has boarded. The French company is positioning it as a family movie that targets the same demo as Hollywood animated tentpoles — a premise that’s highly attractive to indie distributors looking to tap into the audiences’ appetite for event toon features.
“The script, the settings and the main characters deliver inspirational Disney values, such as never abandoning your dream, finding your destiny, the importance of friendship and family,” said Cecile Gaget, head of Gaumont Intl. Gaget added that Paris plays a key part in “Ballerina.”
Toon will be delivered in mid-2016 for an expected release in December 2016.