PARIS – Pyramide Intl., one of the doyens of European arthouse sales companies, has acquired world sales rights to “La Jeune fille sans mains” (The Girl Without Hands), the anticipated feature debut of renown French animated shorts writer- director Sebastien Laudenbach that was confirmed Tuesday for competition at June’s Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival.
Pyramide’s first animation pick-up, “Girl” will world premiere at Cannes in its Association for Independent Distribution (ACID) sidebar, dedicated to French films. Shellac will handle distribution in France of “Girl,” one of the latest additions to France’s now distinguished cannon of family-targeting animation films of artistic ambition. It plans a late November/early December release.
Famed for shorts such as 2010’s Cannes Critics’ Week entry “Vasco,” a hand-drawn black crayon work demonstrating Laudenbach’s sense of line and poetry, at the beginning of his career, Laudenbach also directed “Journal,” which won a Clermont-Ferrand Fest Youth Prize in 1998. He also took an Emilie Reynaud Prize in 2015 for “Daphne ou la belle plante,” co-directed with Sylvain Derosne.
In “The Girl Without Hands,” Laudenbach adapts a lesser-known Brothers Grimm tale of the same title: In hard times, a miller sells his daughter to the Devil. Protected by her purity, she escapes from the Devil who, in revenge, deprives her of her hands. In what is described as a long journey towards the light, abandoning her family, she encounters the goddess of water, a gentle gardener and a prince in his castle.
Written and co-edited by Laudenbach, who also co-directed its compositing, and produced by Paris-based production-distribution house Les Films Sauvages, “Girl’s” put-upon heroine is voiced by Anaïs Demoustier (“Bird People,” “The New Girlfriend”), considered one of the finest actresses of her young generation. Jérémie Elkaïm (“Declaration of War,” “Polisse”) plays the Prince.
“This is the first time Pyramide will be selling an animation movie and we are thrilled to start with this splendid film,” said Agathe Valentin, Pyramide Intl. head of international sales.
She added: “We have been impressed by the quality of the drawing and the unique world of the director. We are confident this poetic story will touch a very large number of people.”