ANNECY France — One of Europe’s on-the-rise animation talents, France’s Aurélien Froment, also known as Aurel, is developing a first animated feature, “Josep.”
Written by Froment and Jean-Louis Milesi, a director (“Lino”) and regular scribe for Robert Guédiguian (“Marius et Jeannette,” “La ville est tranquille”), “Josep” is produced by Serge Lalou and Anne-Marie Luccioni’s Les Films d’Ici Méditerranée, a production outfit founded in 2014 in Montpellier specialized in documentaries, with several animation projects in development.
Les Films d’Ici, the Paris-based producer of Golden Globe-winner “Waltz with Bashir,” and La Fabrique Animation, which backed Jean-François Laguionie’s “Louise en hiver,” will act as co-producers. A co-production with a Catalan company is under negotiations.
Pitched at Cartoon Movie, “Josep’s”’ story is inspired by a true sketch artist born in Barcelona at the beginning of the last century. In a long life – spanning almost the whole century – Josep was a cartoonist, Republican soldier, a prisoner in a concentration camp, Frida Kahlo’s lover, an illustrator for U.S. magazines and a Hollywood stage designer and painter.
“Our script is also a love story about drawing, of an intellectual and artistic legacy passed from a grandfather to his grandson,” Froment told Variety.
He added: “’Josep’ marks a historic political initiative to inform audiences about concentration camps in southern France, whose inhabitants didn’t know about their existence until very recently, while immigration and refugees unfortunately remain hot issues.”
Targeted at young adults and adults, “Josep” will blend 2D computer techniqued with composite images.
A press designer currently working for France’s Le Monde, Le Canard Enchainé and Politis, Froment himself has published around ten comic-books, either alone or in cooperation with print journalists. He co-directed the animation short “Octobre Noir – Malek, Karim, Saïd et les autres.”
“Drawing itself will be a main character of the movie. with Josep Bartoli its personification. Drawing not as a weapon but as a way of crying out loud. Bartoly, who used a tommy gun but came back to pencil, knew that very well, Froment reflected.
Regarding the visual approach of his project, Froment commented that “Josep” will have three or four different visual ambiences, but keeping the coherence of the pencil stroke throughout the whole picture. I love chiaroscuro. Color will be very atmospheric,” he anticipated.