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Shibuya, Caribara, Frame Team For ‘Lily’

Ben Cross heads voicecast on pioneering Bulgarian animated feature

ANNECY – Underscoring the build in animation worldwide, Monaco’s Shibuya Productions is teaming with Bulgaria’s Frame Productions and France’s Caribara Animation to produce animated feature “Lily and the Magic Pearl,” with Ben Cross, the film’s narrator, and Ella Hutchinson, who plays Lily, heading the U.S. voice cast.

Helmed by vet Bulgarian director Anri Koulev, “Lily” is billed as Bulgaria’s first animation feature. Shibuya has boarded, taking international sales rights outside Bulgaria, including distribution rights to France. Animation has been carried out totally in Bulgaria.

From a screenplay by revered Bulgarian writer Valeri Petrov, who adapted his own book, “Five Tales,” and with inevitable echoes of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” “Lily” turns on a little girl who stands in a telephone box by the beach listening to a fairytale that takes her to the bottom of the sea. There, she meets an ugly monster, Gillion (Cross), and together they set off in search of a magic pearl, braving encounters with a Jellyfish, Turbot and Octypus –  who all want to eat Lily.

A mix of 2D and CGI, Lily” is “an underwater tale about underwater things, about real friendship and parting and hope. These are concepts which have been slightly forgotten about these days,” commented Koulev, who, with six live action features to his credit, worked from 1974 at the former state-owned Boyana Film Studio, now owned by Nu Image and Millennium Films,  as a director, art director and scriptwriter.

Backed by the Bulgarian National Film Center, “Lily and the Magic Pearl” is produced by Cedric Biscay, CEO of Shibuya Productions, Kosta Yanev and Adrian Georguiey.

“Lily and the Magic Pearl” “is a poetic, oniric fable, the work of an auteur,” Shibuya’s Dominique Langevin said at Annecy’s MIFA market Wednesday. A producer at Shibuya Productions, Langevin will represent international and France sales rights. A U.S. voice version will be completed shortly.

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