×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Annecy Goes to Cannes Highlights ‘Flee,’ ‘Pachamama,’ ‘Koati’

Sofía Vergara in Mexico's "Koati" headline a strong field of South American filmmakers and narratives

France’s Annecy Intl. Film Festival is once again bringing five animated features, each in different stages of production, to participate in the works in progress sessions – “Goes to Cannes” – at the Cannes Film Festival. Held on Friday May 11, Annecy Goes to Cannes, now in its third year, focuses on animated films looking to acquire sales agents, distribution or additional festival pick-ups.

Annecy Goes to Cannes is run by Citia, the organization behind the Annecy festival – Europe’s and one of the world’s most important animation festival – MIFA market and the Forum Blanc.

Citia project manager Géraldine Baché told to Variety that, “This edition of Annecy Goes to Cannes features projects identified and tracked over the last few years at Annecy and other places we’ve travelled. This edition specifically reflects how big the diversity in animation is in terms of audience, with movies dedicated to kids, teens, adults and families.”

The five productions come from countries with rich animation histories, many with South American producers or narratives. They are: “Flee,” from Denmark, France and Sweden: “Heart of Darkness,” from Brazil, Portugal and France; “Koati,” from Mexico; “Pachamama,” from France, Luxembourg and Canada; and “Spycies,” from the once unlikely pairing of France and China – perhaps indicative of a broader trend in international co-productions as the Chinese market has become increasingly important, and its animation industry has matured. At last year’s Annecy China was the special guest country.

“Flee” is the most adult-aimed of the films participating this year. A documentary, it won the 2016 Disney Channel award for best pitch at Annecy. It’s Danish helmer Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s sophomore feature, and kicks off when an 11-year-old Afghan boy, a victim of human trafficking, shows up alone in Denmark. The narrative format of the feature plays out as a conversation between two friends, Tobias and Amin.

The film is produced by Final Cut For Real and Sun Creature in Denmark, Vivement Lundi! in France, and Most Film in Sweden.

“The film’s topic does make it very relevant for countries across the world that welcomes refugees,” said Final Cut’s Monica Hellström. “We are hoping that by doing this film as an animation, that it can reach a younger audience than these kind of stories normally do.”

“Heart of Darkness,” maintains the name, themes and characters from Joseph Conrad’s “Apocalypse Now” inspiring novel, but is adapted to the streets and favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and to a younger audience. It’s produced by Brazil’s Karmatique Imagens and France’s Les Films d’Ici.

“In animation things can be naturally fantastic and believable,” producer Sébastien Onomo told Variety when asked about adapting the book to an animated format. “In the plot of ‘Heart of Darkness,’ the supporting character, Marlon, has to fulfill his mission in a boat, sailing through the channels that cross the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. In fact (in live-action) this is not possible.”

From a marketing standpoint, Mexico’s “Koati” stands out with its casting of “Modern Family” star Sofía Vergara. Once a household name in her native Colombia, Vergara is a now known across the world thanks to the show’s popularity, and is a perfect fit for the family-oriented feature. She will voice the villain Zaina in both the English and Spanish versions of the film.

“Koati” is produced by Mexican VFX company Upstairs, and according to producer Anabella Sosa is on schedule for delivery in late 2019. She told Variety that participation in Goes to Cannes is allowing the producers, “To Promote the film and start to identify distribution partners around the world.”

First pitched at Cartoon Movie in 2015, “Pachamama” comes from Oscar-nominated producer Didier Brunner’s Folivari, with co-producers O2b Films, Doghouse Studio, Kaibou Production Inc., Haut et Court and Blue Spirit Studio. France’s Indie Sales, a champion of indie animation with a track record of successfully backing features that land somewhere between arthouse and mainstream (“My Life as a Zucchini,” “Another Day of Life”), is handling international sales.

The film is written and directed by Argentine Juan Antin, who’s “Mercano the Martian” won the audience prize at Sitges. “Pachamama” is the tale of a colonial-era Peruvian boy who attempts to save his friend from Incas, but ends up kidnapped by Spanish conquistadors.

Finally, “Spycies” is a horse, or in this case cat, of a different color. A fast-paced action-adventure spy flick with a feline cast, “Spycies” is co-produced by Lux Populi Production in France and Lux Populi VFX in China. It’s a setup with a learning curve – language barriers and a six hour time difference – that now offers unique benefits to the film’s two teams.

“We speak using mostly pictures for the artistic choices,” Lux Populi producer Benoit Luce told Variety before addressing the time difference. “Actually it is one of our most precious allies. When the French team is beginning their day of work China has already had the time to deal with all their questions or requests during the night.”

He finished, “I hope that people will see all the possibilities that this partnership can bring to the animation network.”

More Film

  • 'The Pledge' Review

    Film Review: 'Pledge'

    “Privilege comes with sacrifice” says one character to another in “Pledge” — exactly the kind of noble sentiment authority figures always voice to hush the protests of those about to be sacrificed. This third feature for director Daniel Robbins is no delicate flower of cinematic art, but a lean and mean shocker that tells its [...]

  • John Lithgow

    John Lithgow-Blythe Danner's 'Tomorrow Man' Bought Ahead of Sundance Premiere

    In one of the first deals for the upcoming Sundance Film Festival, Bleecker Street has acquired North American rights to the John Lithgow-Blythe Danner romance “The Tomorrow Man.” The movie will hold its world premiere at the fest, which opens on Jan. 24 in Park City, Utah. The distributor is planning a May 17 release. [...]

  • Dragon Ball Super Broly

    'Dragon Ball Super: Broly' Scores Big First Day With $7 Million

    Funimation Films’ Japanese anime movie “Dragon Ball Super: Broly” has opened impressively with a dominant first-day total of $7 million at 1,260 North American locations on Wednesday. The English-language version of “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” which screened at 180 Imax and Cinemark XD premium large format screens, generated by far the best per-screen average among [...]

  • Shoplifters Cannes

    Box Office: 'Shoplifters' Hits $2 Million to Become One of 2018's Highest-Grossing Foreign Films

    Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” has become an unexpected box office success. The Japanese drama about a petty thief who adopts a young girl has earned critical raves and picked up the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. That translated into commercial success for Magnolia, the indie distributor that’s been overseeing the film’s rollout. “Shoplifters” [...]

  • C'est La Vie TIFF

    French Films' Overseas Box Office Revenue Drops 51% in 2018

    After bouncing back in 2017, the overseas box office revenue of French movies plummeted by 51% to 237 million euros ($270 million) with 40 million admissions sold, a 52% year-on drop, in 2018. The provisional box office figures were unveiled by UniFrance during a reception hosted at France’s culture minister during which Eric Toledano and [...]

  • Isabela Moner Shameik Moore Kiernan Shipka

    Netflix Casts Starry Ensemble for Adaptation of John Green's 'Let It Snow'

    “Dora the Explorer’s” Isabela Moner, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s” Shameik Moore, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s” Kiernan Shipka, “Lady Bird’s” Odeya Rush, Jacob Batalon, Miles Robbins, Mitchell Hope, Liv Hewson, Anna Akana, and Joan Cusack are set to star in the Netflix pic “Let It Snow.” The film is based on the New York Times bestselling [...]

  • Brian Tyree Henry Playback Podcast If

    Listen: From 'Beale Street' to 'Spider-Verse,' Brian Tyree Henry Was Your 2018 MVP

    Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety / iHeartRadio podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films. Emmy- and Tony-nominated actor Brian Tyree Henry is coming off a sensational year. A second, acclaimed season of FX’s “Atlanta” sent him headlong into a fall movie season that saw featured roles in Yann [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content