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AFM: ‘Ballerina’ Producers Tap Toon Vet Guenoden for Animated ‘Bravest’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Laurent Zeitoun and Yann Zenou, the producers behind “The Intouchables,” Armando Iannucci’s upcoming “Death of Stalin,” and the upcoming animated feature “Ballerina,” have enlisted Hollywood animation vet Rodolphe Guenoden to direct “The Bravest,” a 40 million euros ($44 miillion) animated feature  exploring the world of firefighters in New York.

A graduate of the prestigious French animation school Les Gobelins, Guenoden began his career at Amblimation in London and later worked at DreamWorks Animation, where he supervised the animation on “Prince of Egypt,” “The Road to El Dorado,” and “Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas.” He also worked as a storyboard artist on “Madagascar,” “Over the Hedge,” and “Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas.” His credits also include “Kung Fu Panda” (animation design, storyboards) and the short “Kung Fu Panda : Secret of the Scroll,” which he directed.

A period piece, “The Bravest” turns on Maria, a 16-year old ordinary young woman who must become a hero in order to save her father.

“‘The Bravest’ fits into the same artistic mandate than ‘Ballerina.’ It’s an adventure comedy that conveys strong values and an inspirational message,” said Zeitoun.

Developed and produced by the producer duo’s Montreal-based company Main Journey, “The Bravest” will bring together a creative team that includes animation director Ted Ty, whose credits include “Mulan,” “The Lion King,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and “Ballerina”; and Canadian screenwriter Jennica Harper, whose credits include teen comedy series “Some Assembly Required,” which was picked up by Netflix, and the hit comedy series “Mr. Young,” which aired on Disney XD.

The producers have also been collaborating with Rochelle Jones, who became New York’s first female firefighter in 1978 and eventually became a battalion chief, per Zeitoun. Jones was hired as a consultant on the project.

Main Journey was recently launched with the aim to produce English-language films, both live action and animated, as well as TV shows.

The film’s animation is being created by L’Atelier Animation, a Montreal-based studio specializing in 3D feature films, which kicked off with “Ballerina,” set to be released by Gaumont in France in December. The Weinstein Co. will release it in the U.S.

Zeitoun and Zenou are also partners, along with Nicolas Duval, in Quad Prods., whose credits include “Heartbreaker” and “Intouchables.” Quad’s slate include Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s next film, “C’est la vie.”

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