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Folimage Sets ‘Sirocco,’ ‘Affreux’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Company's 'Aunt Hilda!' world preems at Annecy

ANNECY — France’s Folimage, the producer of Oscar-nommed “A Cat in Paris” and one of Europe’s biggest bastions of 2D animation, has unveiled a new production slate led by “Mr. Sirocco,” the first solo outing from “Aunt Hilda!” co-director Benoit Chieux.

Helmed with Folimage founder Jacques-Remy Girerd, a European Animated Feature Film winner in 2009 for “Mia and the Migoo,” “Aunt Hilda!” world preems at Annecy Friday.

Folimage’s new slate — “Sirroco,” a second feature titled “Affreux, sales et gentils,” TV series “Mirou, Mirou” and TV special “Niege” — marks further significant growth at Folimage.

Once producing most notably Remy-helmed films, Folimage is now home to an ever-larger stable of directors and creative talent. As it builds its creative talent pool, its films have also gained in international recognition and foreign sales.

“My task,” said Remy, who has announced that “Aunt Hilda!” will be his last film as a director, “is to keep Folimage’s creative juices flowing.”

A “very poetic and sentimental vision of young childhood,” in Remy’s description, and also tinged by Folimage’s hallmark ecological concerns, “Mr. Sirocco” is set in a world that loses its winds and will go to ruin unless people discover where they’ve gone.

Also in development, and helmed by Camille Rossi and Stephan Schaefer adapting the kid-lit book of the same title, “Affreux, sales et gentils” (literally, “Ghastly, Dirty and Nice”) turns on the child of rich parents who is kidnapped by a family living in a caravan trailer park. There he encounters more human warmth than he ever received from his parents.

“Affreux” is “a very droll comedy gently treating social issues,” Girerd said.
Folimage is also advancing on 26-minute TV special “Neige,” from Pierre-Luc Granjon, whose “Popperty in the Fall” plays in Annecy’s TV competition, and “Mirou, Mirou,” about an otter and his animal friends, helmed by Folimage’s Haruna Kishi, and co-produced by Planet Nemo and Japan’s NHK Art.

Folimage is producing a pilot.

All Folimage’s films and TV productions will be made in 2D.

“Since its creation in 1981, Folimage has increasingly attracted filmmakers who want to work in traditional animation and are a totally free in graphic creation to make very different styles of films,” Remy said.

But the business model is sustainable. “We’ve been around for 32 years, built a catalog of rights,” Remy noted.

“Folimage is a very rare blend of arthouse, production, talent and market appeal, yet which does not compromise the quality, integrity and art of its projects,” said Christophe Vidal, at Paris-based bank Natixis Coficine, a longtime financing partner for Folimage.

Set to bow February 2014 and sold by SND, the comedy about an eccentric aunt “Aunt Hilda!” looks set for a big late-summer festival.

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