ANNECY, France — In 2008, famed Brazilian cartoonist Angeli’s work made its first leap from the pages of “Angeli’s Comics” and “Chiclete com Banana” to the screen with the award-winning stop-motion short “The Rê Bordosa Dossier.” Now, a decade later, his characters have been serialized for broadcast on Brazil’s Canal Brasil in that same short-form, stop-motion style in the series “Angeli the Killer,” which features in the TV competition at this year’s Annecy Festival.
Each episode features interviews with Angeli himself, as well as a number of scripted “interviews” his now world-famous fictional characters. Stories of sex, drug use, punk life and even love are played out in the now three-dimensional adaptation of Angeli’s Brazil. Each episode also features a Psychedelic Moment, a 2D animated cut-away focusing on the same themes as the rest of the episode, and created by special guest animators.
The series is produced by Coala Films, which is currently meeting with international sales agents to secure distribution in other territories where Angeli’s work has been influential for decades.
Series director-producer Casar Cabral and his team talked with Variety about the series in the lead up to its participation at Annecy.
What are the biggest challenges in adapting Angeli’s work to a new medium?
Our biggest challenge was, and still is, to maintain a dialogue with Angeli’s universe. By that we don’t mean just his characters’ personalities, but translating his paper drawings to the three dimensionality of stop-motion, and taking an established concept and unfolding it in an animated language, keeping in mind that the punch of Angeli’s work must always be there – as he says: “It’s important to touch the sore spots.”
You’ve now taken Angeli’s work from a short to a series, with a feature film planned. The short and series share the same format, will the feature follow suit?
The original idea for the short was to investigate the reasons that led Angeli to kill one of his most famous creations, the junkie Rê Bordosa, day after day on the strips of a big Brazilian newspaper. The series, born from the short film, examines characters created at Chiclete com Banana, which was originally published in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The feature film, “Bob Spit –We Do Not Like People,” has a more realistic tone, as is relates with Angeli’s most recent works, where there isn’t much space for characters. At the forefront is the author’s eternal creative crisis. However, as with the series and the short, the feature film also has an acid sense of humor, typical of Angeli.
How involved was Angeli with the series?
Angeli was never directly involved in the work. He always considered what we are doing as an unfolding of his work. I believe that is part of a confidence we earned with him from “The Rê Bordosa Dossier.” Obviously, we always send him the screenplays to get his feedback and comments on some details, but that is more of a suggestion. Besides that, we always go back to his comics as a fount of inspiration.
Is the series produced entirely in-house?
The show was entirely produced at Coala Filmes. The company has just had its 18th birthday, and since the beginning our focus has been on stop-motion animation. That led us to create and maintain a complete structure in the production of sets, props, characters and animation studios.
How did you finance, and how is the series being brodcast?
The series was fully funded through the Fundo Setorial do Audiovisual (FSA-Ancine), a investment system of the federal government that finances production. In return, the FSA has a percentage in the revenue of the work and its licensing. In Brazil, the series was exhibited on Canal Brasil, which is a very important TV channel for Brazilian cinema and overall content.
Aside from this series, what other projects are you working on at Coala?
We have several: We are shooting “Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People,” our first feature film, which is scheduled for release in 2019. We are also starting pre-production on a second season of “Angeli the Killer” as well as on our second feature, a mix of live action and stop motion for kids called “A Brazilian Penguin”
Additionally, in Annecy we will sign a co-production agreement with Argentina’s Nuts Media and Uruguay’s La Suma to co-produce the next feature film from Uruguayan filmmaker Walter Tournier titled “Small Town,” which will be presented in the Animation! Focus@Mifa, an open pitch for winning projects at 2017’s Ventana Sur.