PARIS — French director Bibo Bergeron, whose credits span DreamWorks’”The Road to El Dorado,””Shark Tale” and Luc-Besson produced “A Monster in Paris,” is set to helm “Charlotte,” a WW2-set animated feature turning on the life of German-Jewish artist Charlotte Salomo
The 2D feature will be mainly based on Charlotte Salomon’s “Life? Or Theatre?” — an autobiographical series of 769 paintings which the young artist created between 1941 and 1943 in the south of France, where she lived before she was captured by the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of 26.
“Staying true to Charlotte’s spirit and body of work, our film will be punctuated with fantasy, dream-like elements and the animation designs will be minimalist, in a similar vein as (Remi Chayé’s) ‘Long Way North.’ We’ll be animating and interpreting her paintings, placing the emphasis on the story which is extraordinarly moving,” said Bergeron, adding that “Charlotte” will play to young adults as well as family audiences, as “Waltz With Bashir.”
Bergeron is attending the Annecy Festival this week to pitch the project to potential partners. “The theme of ‘Charlotte’ is ‘how art can save our lives and help us stay sane;’ and it still resonates today,” noted Bergeron.
Julia Rosenberg at Toronto-based January Films is producing “Charlotte,” which will mark the producer’s first toon pic. Rosenberg has produced feature films and documentaries, notably Alan Zweig’s “15 Reasons to Live” which was nominated at Hot Docs.
A pair of Canadian writers, Erik Rutherford and Miriam Toews, whose best-known novels are “A Complicated Kindness” and “All My Puny Sorrows,” are writing the screenplay.
Bergeron said the project was being supported by the Charlotte Salomon Foundation, the trustee of Charlotte’s work.
Telefilm Canada is financing the development of “Charlotte,” whose budget is in the 10 million Euros range. The production will be carried out of Canada and France.
Charlotte Salomon is also the subject of a prize-winning novel, “Charlotte,” penned by one of France’s top authors, David Foenkinos, and published in January 2015. Salomon’s paintings were exhibited just last month at the Massena Museum in Nice.