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Biarritz Rendez-Vous: Gaumont Animation to Develop ‘Belle and Sebastian’ (EXCLUSIVE)

French animation studio presents one of the biggest slates at Biarritz’s Rendez-Vous

Belle and Sebastian,” Gaumont Animation’s most recent production highlight, will be unveiled at the Biarritz Rendez-Vous mart this year. The French studio both produces the project and handles its international sales.

“Belle” consists of 52 13-minute episodes directed by Lionel Francois and penned by Cecile Aubry. Inspired by a classic French novel, “Belle” centers on a slightly wild 7-year-old kid from the Alps building an adventurous relationship with a generous dog dismissed because of her enormous size.

Bowing in December 2013, a “Belle and Sebastian” big-screen adaptation, helmed by Nicolas Vanier, cumed $25.4 million in France and $33.7 million worldwide for Gaumont, making it one of France’s most notable movie sleepers in recent years.

Founded in 1997, Gaumont’s animation studio is one of France’s main producers and distributors of kids content.

The world’s oldest film studio, Gaumont acquired toon shingle Alphanim in 2008 and was newly labeled as Gaumont Animation in 2013. Company catalog includes more than 30 children skeins and 400 hours of animation broadcast in more than 130 countries. Catalog include TV hits such as  “Robotboy,” “Galactik Football” and “Santa’s Apprentice.”

Gaumont commercial guidelines are “to deliver top-notch international shows to the market thanks in part to our ability to work with talented and respected artists and to listen to what the market wants (i.e., popular international/European IPs such as “Calimero,” “Noddy,” “Laurel & Hardy” — as well as tailored original content, including “Furry Wheels” and “Atomic Puppet,” Gaumont Animation’s managing director Pierre Belaisch told Variety.

Currently in production, “Calimero” is another flagship Gaumont series. Gaumont Animation is producing 104 new episodes of “Calimero,” the CGI animated series reboot of the legendary series created in 1963 by Nino Pagot, Toni Pagot and Ignazio Colnaghi with a sweet but unfortunate little black chicken as the main character.

“Calimero” is commissioned by TF1 and Disney Junior.

In addition to “Calimero,” Gaumont Animation’s slate in Biarritz includes “Lanfeust Quest,” “Dude That’s My Ghost,” “Welcome to Bric-a-Broc” and “Atomic Puppet.”

In terms of animation trends, “The vast majority of the shows are still based on the usual targets whether we’re talking preschoolers or older kids, but it seems like there’s a bit more space than before for highly creative/ different/ absurd/risky humor type shows,” added Belaisch.

“Belle and Sebastian” will also be presented at the Cartoon Forum running Sept. 15-18 in Toulouse.

The Biarritz Rendez-Vous takes place Sept. 6-10.

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