×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Annecy: Les Armateurs Sets Paul Leluc For ‘French Riviera’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Prestige French production house closes deals on ‘The Swallows of Kabul,’ preps ‘Cheeky Anna’

ANNECY, France –France’s Les Armateurs, one of Europe’s most prestigious of animation production houses, has attached Paul Leluc, director of its TV toon series hit “The Long Long Holiday,” to helm “French Riviera,” the most ambitious of its animated feature productions.

The moves comes as Les Armateurs, which has won five Oscar nominations for its animated films, is studying entering live-action children’s entertainment, and “The Swallows of Kabul,” another flagship animated feature with a stunning teaser-trailer, has tied down both an international sales agent – Hengameh Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams — and domestic distribution in France via Memento Film Distribution.

Studiocanal is handling international sales on “French Riviera,” plus French distribution.

“’The Long Long Holiday’ had very good audiences, both on linear and catch-up TV, and was very well received by critics, and Paul Leluc has a great sense of how to tell a story,” said Ivan Rouveure, Les Armateurs executive managing director.

As on “Long Long Holiday,” “French Riviera” will be made in 3D with 2D rendering.

“3D is for the fluidity of animation, to be able to work in a Western Europe and North America style. But 2D allows for much more freedom and to make a big film on a budget which will be maximum €10 million ($11.1 million),” Rouveure said.

Originated by graphic artist Richard Zielenkiewicz, better known as Monsieur Z, and Bruno Benchetrit, “French Riviera” is written by Coline Abert (“Plus Belle La Vie”) and “Toy Story” co-writers Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen — whose credits include “Cheaper by the Dozen” and “Garfield.” A screenplay is nearly completed.

Pitched as a vintage thriller with glamour and pace whose early concept art had something of the retro élan of 1950s airline posters, “French Riviere” features animals as characters. The animated feature turns on a literal cat burglar who steals a stash of diamonds.

A bigscreen transfer of Yasmine Khadra’s celebrated novel, “The Swallows of Kabul” is directed by actress-director Zabou Breitman, who won a best first film Cesar for her 2001 directorial debut “Beautiful Memories,” and 29-year-old Elea Gobbe-Mevellec, a rising star of French animation not only for her lyrical 2008 short “Escale,” but also her work on the Oscar-nominated “Ernest and Celestine,” another Les Armateurs production. Like “Ernest and Celestine,” “Swallows” will be made in paperless 2D. Stephane Roelants’ Melusine Production, fast emerging as the partner of choice on upscale European animation, will co-produce out of Luxembourg, handling two-thirds of the animation and the backgrounds, Roveure said.

A bracing condemnation of the treatment of women and misery of life under Taliban rule, “Swallows” turns on two couples, Atiq, a jailer in a women’s prison, and Mussarat, his ailing wife, who have been married for 20 years and hardly talk to each other; and Zunaira, a former lawyer, and her husband, once a university lecturer. Young and in love, both are forbidden from exercising their professions.

Memento Film Distribution will handle theatrical distribution on “The Swallows of Kabul,” said Memento’s Alexandre Mallet-Guy, adding that Memento had worked with Breitman before and he had been highly impressed by both the “Swallows” screenplay and a teaser.

Superbly cut, and evoking a watercolor effect in its graphic work, the teaser-trailer mixes both general shots with detailed background, close-ups with very little background at all, and telling camera movements to establish the movie’s themes and its main narrative driving force: Atiq’s fascination with an imprisoned Zunaira.

Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams handled international sales on “Brendan and the Secret of Kells,” which Les Armateurs co-produced. Les Armateurs aims to go into production by early 2016, said Roveure.

“Cheeky Anna” was announced at Annecy last year, and is a co-production between Les Armateurs and Folimage; its screenplay, by Tony Scott and Pascal Mirleau, will be completed in July. Spanish siblings Elena and Fernando Pomares direct.

With regards to live-action film production, Les Armateurs aims to make family films for large audiences, mainly based on well-known literary works, working with France’s big studios, said Roveure, saying that family audiences were underserved by European production.

More Film

  • FilmNation logo

    FilmNation Promotes Ashley Fox, Brad Zimmerman to SVP of Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    FilmNation Entertainment, the independent studio behind “Arrival” and “Room,” has promoted Ashley Fox and Brad Zimmerman to senior VPs of production. The pair will source and develop material that can be transformed into movies and will oversee film productions on behalf of the company. They will continue to report to Ben Browning, FilmNation’s president of [...]

  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei poses after

    Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei Accuses 'I Love You, Berlin' Producers of Censorship

    The executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out [...]

  • Oscars Nominees Popular Movies

    Oscar Best Picture Race Dominated by Box Office Winners

    This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ ill-fated popular film Oscar category could have just as easily been dubbed “best picture.” That’s because the crop of movies vying to take home the top prize represents the highest-grossing group of best picture nominees in nearly a decade. The eight films in the category [...]

  • Isabela Moner Marcel Ruiz Rosa Salazar

    Variety Announces 10 Latinxs to Watch 2019

    Variety has announced this year’s 10 Latinxs to Watch, and has also selected the Miami Film Festival as a partner for the annual celebration of promising talent in the Latino community that will include a panel and film screenings. This year’s honorees are Isabela Moner (“Dora the Explorer”), Rosa Salazar (“Alita: Battle Angel,” “Bird Box”), [...]

  • New Regency Launches U.K.-Based International TV

    New Regency Launches International TV Division With Scott Free Alum Ed Rubin

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” co-producer New Regency has launched a London-based international TV division, recruiting former Scott Free exec Ed Rubin to run the new operation and hiring Emma Broughton from The Ink Factory (“The Night Manager”) as head of scripted. New Regency produced “The Revenant,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.” It recently opened up shop [...]

  • Kate Bosworth'Nona' film premiere, New York,

    Kate Bosworth Helps Launch Campaign for Female Filmmakers

    In her 20-year career in Hollywood, Kate Bosworth has starred in blockbusters like “Superman Returns” as well as indie darlings like 2014’s “Still Alice.” But the actress has always had a desire to get more involved from the ground up. Now, she is partnering with Women In Film and Chloe Wine Collection to launch the [...]

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content