PARIS – Backup Films, the Paris-based outfit behind “Still Alice” and “Submergence,” has come on board “Where Is Anne Frank,” Ari Folman’s 17.5-million-euro ($18.8 million) animated follow-up to “The Congress” and “Waltz With Bashir.”
Because “Where Is Anne Frank” is the first movie to be supported by The Anne Frank Fonds Basel, Folman has been granted privileged access to Anne Frank’s diary, various texts and family archives. “Where Is Anne Frank” is now set to go into production this month after spending two years in development.
The feature-length film follows the journey of Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne dedicated her diary. A fiery teenager, Kitty wakes up in the near future in Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and embarks on a journey to find Anne, who she believes is still alive, in today’s Europe. While the young girl is shocked by the modern world, she also comes across Anne’s legacy.
“Telling Anne Frank’s story…to families and, mainly, to kids will be my greatest challenge as a director,” said Folman, an Israeli whose parents are both Auschwitz survivors. “I believe we have developed with the animation team a fantastic and modern way to portray the Anne Frank quest, not only in the secret annex [where the Frank family hid], but also, for the first time on screen, following the last seven months of her life.”
In line with Folman’s Oscar-nominated “Waltz With Bashir,” an intimate animated documentary shedding light on Folman’s experience as a soldier in the Lebanon war of 1982, “Where Is Anne Frank” will draw parallels between past and present turmoils in a thought-provoking way. But unlike “Waltz With Bashir,” “Where Is Anne Frank” is meant to appeal to children and families as well as young adults, said Jean-Baptiste Babin, founding partner of Backup Films, whose animation credits include “Minuscule” and “Song of the Sea.”
“We aim to make a radically modern animated film. The overall ambition of the film is to ensure that Anne Frank’s diary remains relevant to millennials for the next decades,” said Diana Elbaum, who is producing the film and previously teamed with Folman on “The Congress.”
Elbaum, whose credits also include Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” added that the film will provide a “new way to tell the story of the past for tomorrow’s generation in a language of today.”
Expected to be delivered in 2019, “Where Is Anne Frank” brings together top players in prestige animation and live-action features: Belgium’s Walking the Dog (Oscar-nominated “The Secret of Kells”), the Netherlands’ Submarine (“The Last Hijack”) and France’s Prima Linea (Oscar-nominated “The Red Turtle”), in addition to Folman’s Israel-based outfit, Bridgit Folman Film Gang (“Waltz With Bashir”). Entre Chien et Loup from Belgium and Samsa Films from Luxembourg are co-producing.
Elbaum and Babin will both be in Berlin to pitch the project to EFM buyers.