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Annecy: Luiz Bolognesi Readies Indigenous Adventure Drama ‘O Estrangeira’

Project will be pitched at Mifa's Animation du Monde

ANNECY, France — Luiz Bolognesi’s next animation feature, “O estrangeira” (‘The Foreigner’), will be presented on June 14 at Annecy’s Animation du Monde pitching sessions, launched in 2015 to reflect the build in world cinema animation.

Bolognesi‘s debut, “Rio 2096, a Story of Love and Fury,” took the Annecy Festival’s best picture Cristal in 2013.

Animated in classic 2D techniques and budgeted at $1.9 million, the animation feature will be produced by Alê Abreu’s Filme de Papel and Laís Bodanzky’s Buriti Filmes. The production company of Abreu, Academy Award-nominated and an Annecy Cristal Award winner for “Boy and the World,” has sealed a production agreement with Buriti, founded by Bodanzky (“Just Our Like Parents”) and Bolognesi, which sees the three producer-directors alternatively producing features directed by another of the partners.

“O estrangeira” links to Bolognesi’s “Ex-Shamam,” which received a Berlinale special mention for documentary this year and follows an elderly former shaman in an Amazon indigenous community who grew up without contact with white invaders, and to ”Rio 2096,” a vision of Brazilian history from the point of view of an indigenous warrior, Tupinambá.

”Strangeira” tells the story of 13-year-old Helena, a girl who was kidnapped by Yanomami Indians in the Brazilian Amazon Forest in 1936. After trying to escape several times, Helena adapted to indigenous  culture, learnt their magical cosmology and married the young warrior Fusiwé. Integrated, Helena comes to face a dilemma –a life with her former Catholic relatives, or remaining with the Yanomami community.

According to Bolognesi, the feature will explore the “essence of uncontaminated Yanomami culture, seen through the eyes of a white woman who gradually transforms herself into a white Yanomami, regarded as a ‘Napeyoma’ a foreigner.’” The animation film will be partially shot in the Yanomami language. The Amazon’s color palette and riverside culture will be recreated through the use of watercolors, the director explained.

“I have been very excited about this project since I first read the story. Bolognesi uses his passion and knowledge about the Indians to carry us into the deep forest. It’s an invitation to dive into the mythic universe of the Yanomami with the power of the animation,” Abreu told Variety.

From Buriti, Bolognesi is currently co-producing Abreu’s next feature “Voyagers of the Enchanted Forest,” where lost kids seek refuge from aliens and giants in an universe with echoes of graphic artist Jean ‘Moebius’ Girard.

Buriti Filmes, in partnership with Fernando Fraiha’s Bionica Filmes in Brazil and Portuguese producer Luis Urbano, is also producing Bodanzky’s next film “Pedro,” set against the true story background of Pedro IV of Portugal, the head of the only European court to pack its bags, crowns and titles and move to a tropical colony, becoming Pedro IV of Brazil.

The five action movie follows the drama of the first-born Prince Pedro, who grew up in the New World with an unloving mother and a father who was mocked due to his constant panic about being the next victim of a liberal revolution dethroning and decapitating royalty in Europe. “Pedro” is scheduled to initiate principle photography in October.

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