Annecy: Anaya Produçoes, CineZebra Team on ‘Nimuendaju’

Adult animated feature project is based on the story of Brazilian-German ethnologist Curt Nimuendaju

Courtesy of Anaya Produçoes

CineZebra, the Stuttgart-based prodco run by thesp-producer Peter Ketnath, is teaming with Brazil’s Anaya Produçoes Culturais to co-produce Tania Anaya’s “Nimuendaju,” an adult animated feature project based on the story of German-Brazilian ethnologist Curt Nimuendaju.

Selected to be pitched at Annecy 2016’s Mifa market, “Nimuendaju” combines animation with live-action, shot in both studio and location.

Covering 25 years in the life of Curt Nimuendaju, the film begins in 1906, when the 22-year-old German Curt Unkel, who’s just come to Brazil, goes to Sao Paulo to live among the Guarani people and is baptized by them as Nimuendaju – “who has found his place in the world,” in Guarani.

The film will reveal Nimuendaju’s journey through the indigenous’ villages of the interior of Brazil and how he crosses the border between white and the indigenous’ worlds and suffering the latter communities’ conflicts, such as the attempt to take their ancestral lands.

“Our narrative centre on the journey of a man who is implacable, unswerving in purpose,” pic’s director-producer Tania Anaya told Variety.

“Aware of the evil and fire-power of his opponents – the landowners, the Brazilian government, public prejudice about indigenous peoples – he looks for a closer relationship with his object of study,” she added.

Movie is scheduled for a 2019 release. Producers are currently working on the storyboard and the animatics of the film, and the animation bible. In November, they plan to shoot in the Guarani lands of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Pre-production is slated to finish this year. Animation production, final artwork and soundtrack composition will be completed by 2017-2018.

Austrian expressionist artist Egon Schiele is a main stylistic reference.

Rio Grande do Sul-based studio Atoon, whose credits include Otto Guerra and Ennio Torresan’s Annecy 2013 player “Till Sbornia Do Us Apart,” will also be involved in  stages of “Nimuendaju” preparation.

Germany’s Peter Ketnath, who’s previously worked with the Brazilian industry on titles such as Marcelo Gomes’ “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures,” will play the role of Curt Nimuendaju in the live-action parts. In Latin America, Ketnath’s outfit CineZebra co-produced last year “Butterflies,” directed by Colombian-Brazilian director Juan Zapata.

“Nimuendaju” marks several firsts. It is the feature film debut of Belo Horizonte-based Anaya Produçoes, after a long career producing indie and institutional medium and short-length pics. It also represents a pioneering animated feature for the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais.

With a R$2.4 million ($700,000) budget, the project has already snagged some $300,000 after winning script development and pre-production prizes from Minas Gerais state’s Filme em Minas program, plus production and post-production backing from Brazil’s Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social.

“We can say we are the first results of an incentive policy of the Brazilian government, which has been boosting animation in our country in an incredible way,” said Anaya, who produces “Nimuendaju” along with Bruno Hilario and Kleber Gesteira.