Producers eye major fest berth for animation-docu hybrid

The animation-documentary hybrid feature “Another Day of Life,” which is helmed by Polish animator Damian Nenow and Spanish docu-maker Raul de la Fuente, is set to go into production in the fall, with the producers eyeing a major fest launch in 2015.

The pic, whose foreign sales are being handled by Celluloid Dreams, is produced by Jaroslaw Sawko and Ole Wendorff-Ostergaard for Poland’s Platige Films and Amaia Remirez for Spain’s Kanaki Films.

Nenow, Sawko, Wendorff-Ostergaard and Platige’s head of creation Krysztof Noworyta will be at the Annecy Animation Film Festival Wednesday to present the project.

The pic’s genesis came when De la Fuente reached out to Platige to team on the project, which is based on Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book “Another Day of Life,” and centers on Kapuscinski’s experiences during the civil war in Angola in 1975. De la Fuente had seen Nenow’s 2010 fiction short “Paths of Hate,” which won the jury distinction at Annecy, and believed a combination of that style of animation and his documentary footage would do the book justice.

Now the Euros4.5 million ($6 million) project is 70% financed, with the final tranche of coin likely to be in place by mid-October, when Eurimages decides on its latest funding round. Germany’s Wueste Film and Belgium’s Walking The Dog have boarded the project as co-producers. Public funders include the EU’s Media Program, the Polish Film Institute and Spain’s ICAA Film Board.

Speaking to Variety, Sawko and Wendorff-Ostergaard said they believed the film would be able to compete for a berth at one of the major festivals. They are aiming for a May 2015 release, which suggests that a Cannes world preem is in the frame.

“We believe it is a film of high artistic integrity and quality, and that it will have a good festival run,” said Wendorff-Ostergaard, who formerly worked for Zentropa.

The Angolan civil war was a turning point in Kapuscinski’s career, and the film looks at the role of a reporter in a war-zone, and asks to what extent a journalist should give a subjective point of view.

“We’d like to show his transformation from being a reporter into a mature artist,” Sawko said.

Platige, which was set up 15 years ago, is chiefly known for the production of animation and vfx for commercials and videogames, as well as animated series and shorts, but it now plans to step up its feature film work.

“Another Day of Life” marks its debut as a lead producer of feature films, but it has had plenty of experience in feature film production, as it has supplied vfx for pics like Zentropa’s “Melancholia” and “Antichrist.”

It plans to lead produce a further three feature films over the next five years, which will be more mainstream than “Another Day of Life.” They will exploit the company’s strengths in animation and vfx, backed up by strong storytelling.

“We have been developing our projects for a long time, very thoroughly, because this is a chance for our directors, who have been working with Platige for many years, to realize their feature film ambitions,” Wendorff-Ostergaard said. “They are at a level where they have won all the festivals with their shorts, they have been Oscar nominated and won the BAFTA award, et cetera, so our ambition is to still tie them to the company, but give them the artistic satisfaction that comes from making a feature film.”

Among the directors working with Platige is Tomek Baginski, whose short “The Cathedral” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003, and whose “Fallen Art” won the BAFTA short film award in 2006. Another helmer on its roster is Pawel Borowski, who directed the live-action feature “Zero” in 2009, which was selected at Rotterdam and Pusan fests, among others.

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