Annecy: Carlos Juárez and Nicolas Schmerkin Talk About Competition Player ‘Psiconautas’

The feature debut of Spain’s Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez competes at Annecy

ANNECY– Spain’s Annecy competition contender “Psiconautas, the Forgotten Children,” delivers a dark coming-of-ager fantasy, turning on Birdboy and Dinky, two teenagers attempting to flee an ecologically devastated island.

“Psiconautas” is produced by Carlos Juárez’s Basque Films, behind last year’s Annecy player “Possessed” actor Luis Tosar and Farruco Castroman’s Zircozine Animation and Nicolas Schmerkin’s Paris-based company Autour de Minuit, serving as associate producer. A spin-off from their short “Birdboy,”–  which preemed at Annecy in 2011 and took best short at Spain’s Goya Academy Awards,– “Psiconautas” is the first feature of Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez. An animated short from the duo, black fantasy “Unicorn Blood,” nabbed best experimental short at Chicago fest. “Psiconautas’” international sales are initially handled by Basque Films.

Where has “Psiconautas” been seen?

Carlos Juárez:  It debuted at the San Sebastian Festival’s Zabaltegi showcase — taking the Lurra Greenpeace kudo, going on to play at Gijon, Sofia, Stuttgart, Guadalajara and Brussels among others, taking best animated feature in Bulgaria and Germany. Now we’re very happy for being in Annecy.

Autour de Minuit has a strong presence in Annecy this year….

Niccolas Schmerkin: Yes. We have four shorts in competition: Alberto Vazquez’s “Decorado,” Donato Sansone’s “Journal Animé,” David Coquard-Dassaut’s “Peripheria,” and Ronny Trocker’s “Estate.” We also have “A Town Called Panic” in the TV showcase.

You also handled the international distribution of “Unicorn Blood” (directed by Vázquez, co-written with Rivero), so you’ve followed them since their beginnings. What attracted you to “Psiconautas”?

Schmerkin: We love their unique way of depicting raw and violent problems in our modern society- from environmental problems to twisted human relationships – with a cute, naif and poetic design. They make a very strong statement about our amoral adult world, from which there is nearly no escape. It’s a bit like Bill Plympton meeting Hayao Miyazaki.

And Autour de Minuit co-produced “Decorado,” which premiered at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes.

Schmerkin: Yes. And in addition, we’re are also co-developing his next feature film “Unicorn Wars,” with his Spanish producer Ivan Miñambres from Uniko.

As associate producers you have all rights for France and Belgium. Do you plan to release the pic theatrically? If so, when?

Schmerkin: We are currently in discussion with French theatrical distributors. The idea is to release it before the end of 2016.

What are your international expectations, the ideal target for “Psiconautas”?

Juárez: It’s an artistic movie that can reach any audience with different tastes, a niche film but with broad appeal for many people. That’s why “Psiconautas” is doing so well at fests.

But it doesn’t target children?

Juárez: No, but it could attract teens. Teens are more advanced than a few years ago in terms of understanding codes, registers… There’re violence, drugs.. that have a natural but not excessive presence in the plot. The graphic novel had a more adult perspective than the movie. Cartoon movies exclusively for adults are not easy to handle on theatrical circuits. Adults still show a reluctance to pay to see an animation movie only for adults. But things are changing, think of “The Simpsons” where we find a series combining both worlds –adult and youth. Current animation usually mixes its targets.

More Film

  • UGC Distribution Closes on Mariano Cohn’s

    Ventana Sur: UGC Distribution Closes Market Hit ‘4 x 4’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — UGC Distribution has beaten out all other suitors to clinch what had became by Friday morning the most anticipated deal of this year’s Ventana Sur market: All rights to France on Argentine Mariano Cohn’s “4 x 4,” sold by Latido Films and distributed throughout Argentina by Disney. After mounting speculation about which [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Hits $152 Million at International Box Office

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” has already grossed more than $150 million outside the U.S., Michael Masini joins “Birds of Prey,” and Freestyle buys the documentary “Shamanic Trekker.” BOX OFFICE Warner Bros.’ tentpole “Aquaman” has taken in $152 million overseas in 36 markets, with $135 million of that from China, where it opened on [...]

  • 'Winter's Night' Review: Enigmatic, Offbeat Korean

    Tallinn Film Review: 'Winter's Night'

    There are thousands of films about love’s beginning, and a great many about love’s end. But far fewer deal with a relationship’s late-middle: the spreading, sluggish delta of coupledom when decades of familiarity, if they have not bred contempt, at least threaten irritation. “Winter’s Night,” Jang Woo-jin’s playfully melancholic third feature, after the acclaimed “A [...]

  • Tomasz Kot UTA

    UTA Signs ‘Cold War’ Star Tomasz Kot (EXCLUSIVE)

    UTA has signed “Cold War” star Tomasz Kot. He has appeared in more than 30 films and 26 plays as well as dozens of television series. Most recently, Kot has received award-season buzz for his starring role as Wiktor in Pawel Pawlikowski’s feature “Cold War” for Amazon. The project has earned him a nomination for [...]

  • Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening

    Kenneth Branagh's 'All Is True' Opening Palm Springs Film Festival

    The 30th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will open on Jan. 3 with historical drama “All Is True,” starring Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen. Branagh, who will be in attendance at the opening night screening, directed from Ben Elton’s script about the little-known period in the final years of William Shakespeare. Branagh [...]

  • Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies

    Actor and Activist Rodney Kageyama Dies at 77

    Actor, activist and influentials member of the Japanese American community, Rodney Kageyama, died in his sleep Dec. 9. He was 77. The SAG member was known for roles in “Karate Kid IV” with Hillary Swank, Ron Howard’s film “Gung Ho” and the spinoff sitcom, and the TV movie “Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes” with Max [...]

  • Most Popular Films 2018: The Best

    9 Holiday Gift Ideas Inspired by This Year's Most Popular Films

    From superheroes to super nannies, 2018 was a year full of memorable characters — and memorable movies. Whether you’re a big film buff, an avid follower of a popular franchise, or have a couple movie fans in your life, here are nine gifts that capture the fun of some of this year’s biggest films. 1. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content