EuropaCorp’s ‘Jack’ Open UniFrance Rendez-vous

French film mart/junket to highlight 52 new Gallic movies for buyers

PARIS — A gala screening of “Jack & the Cuckoo-Clock Heart,” the long and much-awaited animated movie from Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, will open the 16th UniFrance Paris Rendez-vous With French Cinema, a four-day French film market and model for many of the national movie screenings that have sprung up around the world.

Over Jan. 10-13, distributors from 50 countries, primarily in Europe but also Latin America and Canada, will screen 110 movies shown at movie theaters in Paris. 52 films will be market premieres.

An animated adventure romance billed by EuropaCorp as “Edward Scissorhands” meets “Belleville Rendez-Vous,” “Jack’s” rights optioning by EuropaCorp was first announced in 2008.

Since then EuropaCorp has supported “Jack” through thick-and-thin, including a change of animation studio when original animator Duran Duboi went to the wall and the project was taken to Belgium’s Walking the Dog.

Produced by EuropaCorp’s Virginie Besson-Silla, the big screen movie adapts co-director Mathieu Malzieu’s popular novel that also inspired an strong-selling album performed by Malzieu’s band, Dionysos. Stephane Berla, who has helmed Dionysos vidclips, co-directed.

Music from the album drives a late 19th-century faux-naïf tale of amour fou, centering on Jack, a frail lad who was born with a icy heart which, in order to work, has been stitched to a cuckoo-clock. Growing up, he has to avoid all strong emotions, especially love.

Malzieu, Olivia Ruiz and Grand Corps Malade voice “Jack”.

Well-received excerpts from the movie — whose characters are designed by Italian artist Nicoletta Ceccoli, famous for her near doll-like figures set in not-so-innocent contexts — were shown at 2013’s Annecy Animation Festival last June.

EuropaCorp will bow “Jack” in France on Feb. 5 in the run-up to Valentine’s Day.

In the second part of a newly double-backed event, over Jan. 17-20, journalists from Europe, Israel and Quebec will interview key cast and directors of French films released in their countries from February to June. UniFrance describes this second meet as the biggest press junket in the world.

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