×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Animated ‘Stork’ Bows at New Nordic Film Market

A teenage sparrow raised by a stork family and who thinks he is one of them, is the lead character in German directors Toby Genkel and Reza Memari’s “Richard the Stork,” a CGI-animated feature that presented its first footage at the New Nordic Films market, which ran Aug. 23-26 during the Norwegian Intl. Film Festival in Haugesund, Norway. The animated pic is close to finishing production after 2½ years, according to Norwegian-German producer Kristine M.I. Knudsen of Berlin’s Knudsen & Streuber Medienmanufaktur which produced with Bergen’s Den Sidste Skilling. Munich’s Global Screen has sold the pic worldwide “except for North America, the U.K./Ireland, France and Spain, where the distributors want to see it first, but there is a strong interest,” she explained.

A film enthusiast, Knudsen began her cinema studies at university, but realized it was too academic for her; instead, she began working for film production company Nordisk Film in Bergen. “I found out production was for me, I love to keep many balls in the air at the same time, and pull the strings,” Knudsen recalled.

At the time Norway did not yet have a national film school, so she went to Germany and attended the Filmakademiein Baden-Württemberg. With German producer Tom Streuber, she set up Berlin’s Knudsen & Streuber Medienmanufaktur in 2006, and in 2011 she added a Norwegian company, Den Siste Skilling, in Bergen.

She produced German director Matthias Glasner’s drama “Mercy”  in 2012, and it was selected for the Berlinale, while last year she produced her first Norwegian production, Kjersti Steinsbø’s thriller “Revenge.” “Richard the Stork” is her biggest-budget project, at $10.8 million.

“Eight years ago I met Memari, who later wrote the script and co-directed. He told me about his story, he already knew all the details, but he never thought it would become a film. No producers wanted original material for animated productions, and in Germany family entertainment is risky business. However, we decided to give it a try.”

She learned quickly that animation is a much different beast than live action. “Financing and producing CGI animation is a long process – in a week an artist can produce 11 seconds – so it took another four years [of production]. There are still two months of work on the production, which has used animation studios in Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Norway,” she said.

Knudsen produced with the “European road-movie – family entertainment, targeted at 6- to-10-year-old children” with Germany’s  Ulysses Filmproduktion, Senator Film, Walking the Dog-Belgium, Melusine Productions-Luxembourg. Wild Bunch Germany will handle German distribution, with he local premiere scheduled for April 13.

She has no plans to board another eight-year project, but Knudsen & Streuber Medienmanufaktur has recently acquired the film rights for Saudi Arabian-Canadian author Ensaf Haidar’s book “Raif Badawi, The Voice of Freedom:  My Husband, Our Story.”

A Saudi Arabian social activist and blogger, Badawi was in 2014 sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes; he has since received the European Union’s Sakharov Prize and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Now living in Canada with their three children, Haidar and Amnesty International continue to fight for her husband’s release.

 

Pictured above: Toby Genkel and Reza Memari’s “Richard the Stork”

 

 

 

 

More Film

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. Related 'Louder Than Bombs,' 'The Wave' Take Top Norwegian Film Prizes Pernilla August Explores Forbidden Love in Drama 'Serious Game' Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Flying to $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” will soar to the top of the domestic box office when it debuts this weekend in over 4,000 North American theaters. The studio anticipates an opening around $40 million, which would fall just short of the debut of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content