ANNECY — EuropaCorp’s “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” rocked the Annecy fest scene with a live performance by French band Dionysos accompanying clips of the much-anticipated animated musical fantasy.
Co-penned and co-directed by Mathias Malzieu and Stephane Berla, the CG 3D feature is inspired by Malzieu’s popular novel “La Mecanique du Coeur,” which was also turned into a music album. Clips showed in Annecy revealed the feature’s poetic, dream-like and romantic spirit, anchored by Malzieu’s musical score; and the singular, retro-style character designs from Italian illustrator Nicoletta Ceccoli.
A flurry of buyers have already been charmed by the project. EuropaCorp has pre-sold the film in multiple territories after showing French- and English-language promos at Cannes. Deals include Switzerland (JMH), Scandinavia (Scanbox), Greece (Odeon), Poland (ITI), Middle East (Golf) and Singapore (MVP Ent.).
Marie-Laure Montironi, EuropaCorp head of sales, said the company is in negotiations to close English-speaking territories and Germany.
Set in 1874, story turns on a young man whose heart was replaced at birth with a clock. He should avoid strong emotions, above all love, but can’t keep his heart under control.
EuropaCorp will release “Heart” in France on Feb. 5, to roll it out leading up to Valentine’s Day.
“We’re positioning it as a mainstream family film that’s luminous, smart and entertaining,” said Montironi. “Buyers are particularly attracted by the musical elements, designs and high production values of (‘Heart’).”
Toonpic was one the most buzzed-about projects pitched at Cartoon Movie, the Lyon-based co-production mini-mart, two years ago, and has since been boarded by Belgian animation studio Walking the Dog, which took over the project following the shuttering of Quinta Industries’ Duran Duboi.
Powered up by EuropaCorp’s marketing topper Fabrice Denizot, “Heart” had locked down major sponsors, including Swiss watch brand Swatch and major publishing house Flammarion.