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French ‘toon exhuming ‘Pere Lachaise’

Family 3D animated feature to bring to live Wilde, Moliere, Morrison

Alain Attal’s Les Productions du Tresor (“Blood Ties”) is teaming with Des Films en Aiguilles on “The Ghosts of Pere Lachaise,” an ambitious — for France — $19 million 3D animated feature set the world’s most-visited cemetery.

Mixing comedy, fantasy and action, toon brings back to life iconic figures of literature and music who are buried there, including Oscar Wilde, Moliere, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison.

Toon turns on the adventures of a lonely seven-year-old girl whose life brightens up after she meets the inhabitants of Pere Lachaise who come out every night to sing, play and compose.

It’s helmed by Antoine Colomb and Guillaume Rio, who’ve previously directed episodes of the animated skein “Les Podcasts.” Jean Francois Bourrel’s studio Chez Eddy is creating the animation and co-producing.

Pic has been in development for 18 months. The production team has put together a well-polished 2.5-minute trailer and is in talks with high-profile French distribution and sales companies interested in the toon.

Feature marks Tresor and Aiguilles’ first toon project.

At Toronto, Aiguilles, topped by Carole Lambert and Carine Ruszniewski, has “Free Angela & All Political Prisoners,” a chronicle of Angela Davis’ radical activism, which Will Smith’s Overbrook and Jay Z’s Roc Nation just boarded. Shola Lynch’s docu, repped by Elle Driver, bows at Toronto on Sunday.

Les Productions du Tresor recently wrapped Guillaume Canet’s “Blood Ties,” starring Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard and Mila Kunis. Attal’s production credits include Maiwenn’s “Polisse,” which nabbed last year’s Cannes’ Jury nod, and Canet’s “Tell No One.”

“We want Lachaise’s animation — in designs and textures — to emulate the look of Pixar’s features,” Lambert said, adding that the film will be positioned as a mainstream, upscale family toon in France.

“It’s a passion project with large international potential that has been fully developed by independent producers,” says Attal. “Now we’re looking for a reputed company to handle international sales and give the French release enough marketing muscle.”

Pic is now in pre-production. Expected delivery is late 2014.

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