‘Rio 2096’ Director Preps Toonful ‘Travellers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Brazilan filmmaker Bolognesi sees a quality screenplay as the key to a successful animated feature


Brazil’s Luiz Bolognesi is preparing “Travellers,” his follow-up to “Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury,” Brazil’s breakthrough animated pic that is among 19 toon feature submissions for Academy Award consideration announced this week.

Produced by Brazil’s Gullane Films (“Amazonia”), an HBO Latin America Originals co-production, with voices talent including Rodrigo Santoro, “Rio 2096” also won the Annecy Animation Festival’s top Cristal Award, animation’s biggest international kudo.

An animated feature, “Travellers” will attempt to copy the competitive advantage, that for Bolgnesi, Hollywood aniamted movies have: the quality of their screenplays.

In early development — though Bolognesi has already assembled a core team for the new pic from “Rio 2096” — “Travellers” turns on “children in a big city like Sao Paulo, New York and Paris, how they deal with cities’ time pressures, oppressive lifestyles, and how they dream, which allows them to travel in space and time,” Bolognesi said.

These dreams will be presented, metaphorically, as realities, he added.

“Travellers” is set up at Sao Paulo’s Buriti Filmes, which Bolognesi owns with wife and director Lais Bodanzky.

Unlike the teen/adult-targeting “Rio 2096,” “Travellers” targets all audiences. But it will, like “Rio 2096,” “offer entertainment, yes, but also reflection,” Bolognesi said.

For “Travellers,” he is assembling a team of screenwriters.

“We now have the talent and technology to make films similar in technical quality to big productions,” Bolognesi said. “But Hollywood animation’s biggest asset is the quality of scripts, of stories.”

He said his intention is to work hard from the beginning of “Travellers” with some of Brazil’s great storytellers.