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Ventana Sur: ‘Dalia and the Red Book’ Director David Bisbano Discusses His Most Personal Film Yet

Argentina's FilmSharks Intl. will handle distribution, with CEO Guido Rud signing on as executive producer

Argentina’s FilmSharks Intl.’s, the country’s best-known international sales agents, has boarded the upcoming animated feature, “Dalia and the Red Book.” The company’s announced involvement is no surprise after the international success it achieved with director David Bisbano’s 2013 feature “A Mouse Tale.” In addition to handling international distribution, FilmShark’s Guido Rud will also executive produce the film.

Rud’s announcement corresponds with the start of Ventana Sur, Latin America’s biggest film market. This year the festival has once again teamed with the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival and Mifa market to hold pitching sessions for animated projects. It has also added a Work in Progress section, which includes “Dalia,” which is looking to secure further international co-producers.

Argentina’s Vista Sur and Peru’s Golem Studios have partnered as co-producers since the film’s inception. Last year, the two companies jointly released an animated short, “The Drum and the Shadow,” made as a means of perfecting the techniques they are now using on “Dalia.”

In the film, a recently-disappeared famous writer leaves his daughter, Dalia, with a mission to finish his final work. To this end, Dalia will enter the Red book and face the characters that have taken over the story in their eagerness to become protagonists. Bisbano talked with Variety about the project

Where did the story for “Dalia” come from?

It started with an idea that you create a story that will talk about books and stories. Then gradually started to include characters, especially Cabra, a character that I had created long before, but was never able to include in a story. Then Dalia appeared and the story became a question. What happens to those characters that we create but then discard? That never reach the book, the script …? Writing “Dalia and the Red Book” took me a long time. Longer than any other script I’ve done. I wanted to tell a great adventure of creation and, at the same time, have many narrative layers that were there for different viewers of different ages.

“Dalia and the Red Book” will not be my first animated film, but it will be the most personal.

Vista Sur and Golem Studios are co-producing. Can you talk about their involvement?

Vista Sur and Felipe are from Argentina and Golem Studios is from Peru. From the beginning, Golem was involved in the project, so we made the short film “El Tambor y la Sombra,” (The Drum and the Shade) where we tested the techniques for “Dalia and the Red Book,” and adjusted them.

Over the years we have become a very solid team, and have not stopped working on projects together, always with the goal of making “Dalia” in the best possible way and with a very personal imprint, both for the animation and for the narration.

How has it been working with FilmSharks?

FilmSharks is a fundamental part of the film. Since we worked with them on “Rodence and the Teeth of the Princess” the FilmSharks team has been involved in every project we have worked on. I like to work with people who love and understand cinema. The FilmSharks mission is clear; they do not rest until they take their films to every corner of the world.

What state is the movie in now?

The project has the support of INCAA, and we are in production on the scene art and have character design finished. We have the 3D animatic s edited with the original voices, which were already recorded and edited. Now we are planning to record the models we’ve made. Everything is ready for animation since the characters’ rig is 95% finished, as are the textures and the shader.

You use many different forms of animation in your project. What are some advantages and difficulties in using so many techniques?

“Dalia and the Red Book,” is a story about stories. That playfulness with the narrative is replicated in the animation techniques. 3D is combined with traditional hand-drawn animation, as are stop motion and models. We reserve certain techniques in the film for each element, which adds to the narrative. I think the union of techniques is the best way for us to make this film. I’m passionate about animation in all its forms, but seeing that most of the animation productions in the world are more or less the same, I wanted to create a different way of doing this film, trying to create a new look. Animation is suffering loss of personality: That saddens me a lot.

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