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Elle Buys Italian ‘Art’ at Venice Film Festival

French shingle nabs animated feature aimed at the adult aud and a rarity from Italy

Paris-based sales company Elle Driver has acquired all international territories outside Italy on ambitious Italo animation drama “The Art of Happiness,” by Alessandro Rak, which opened the International Critics’ Week here at Venice.

Pic for adult audiences about a about a Neapolitan cab driver and former musician searching for spirituality as he drives the city’s garbage-strewn streets, marks a rare case of a young Italian animation director managing to make his feature film debut.

“Italy lags behind in the animation sector, especially in terms of being able to adapt to changing storytelling forms for new media,” said producer Luciano Stella. “We are trying to change that.”

Rak is a graduate of Rome’s Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia Film School and also a graphic novelist.

Pic is produced by Stella and Naples shingle Mad Entertainment, and will be distributed in Italy by Istituto Luce Cinecitta.

Elle Driver is emerging as a high-profile Venice player, holding rights to multiple features playing on the Lido and being sold at the Venice Film Market, including “Miss Violence,” by Greek helmer Alexandros Avranas, and “Les Tarrasses,” by Algerian Merzak Allouache, both in competition.

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