BUENOS AIRES — Marking what looks very much like a new record for animation in Latin America, Edward Noeltner’s Cinema Management Group, the sales company behind Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent,” has pre-sold “Ainbo – Spirit of the Amazon” to over half the planet.
“Ainbo” was picked up by CMG in January 2017 off the first edition of Ventana Sur Animation!, where Tunche Films presented a teaser promo. Produced by Gullane Films and Walter Salles’ Videofilmes, Sergio Machado’s “Noah’s Ark – A Musical Adventure,” a CMG acquisition off last year’s Animation!, has now pre-sold to 16 international distributors. Sales on “Noah’s Ark,” a flagship for the high artistic and commercial ambitions of Brazilian animation, suggest once more the resilient appeal of striking, high-end foreign animation in the international market as a theatrical proposition.
Deals on “Ainbo,” directed by Peru’s José Zelada, take in half the world’s major markets: China (Turbo Films), Germany (Telepool), Latin America (CDC Intl.), CIS (Volga), South Korea (First Run) and, at November’s AFM, Italy (BIM Distribuzione), as well as blue-chip distribution houses – eOne for Benelux, Singapore’s Shaw Ent., and Poland’s Kino Swiat.
Initiated at Berlin in 2017, sales mix takes in 23 distributors and 108 countries to date, including a pan-Asian pay TV pact with Fox and multi-territory deals with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand (Blue Lantern), the Baltics (Best Film/Asphire) and the Middle East (Front Row) making for a total of 108 countries.
In all, said Noeltner, “Aimbo” is CMG’s best, pre-selling animated feature since it started licensing animated films in 2004 with “Hoodwinked – The True Story of Little Red Riding Hood.”
That title went on to gross over $110 million theatrically worldwide, noted Noeltner, who will present “Ainbo” to an industry audience at Animation! Ventana Sur’s burgeoning animation film-TV market, which unspools this week in Buenos Aires.
Lead-produced by César Zelada Mathews at Peru’s Tunche Films, “Ainbo” initiated co-production conversations with companies in Spain, the Netherlands and Canada, bringing on board Richard Claus’Amsterdam-based Cool Beans in December 2o17: CMG already represented Claus and Karsten Kilerich’s “The Little Vampire 3D.” Crucially, attacking the facet of animation which is often sidelined, the producers and Noeltner, who takes an executive producer credit, also hired additional writers for screenplay development. Writers who have contributed to the current version include Brian and Jason Cleveland, scribes on Triggerfish Animation Studio’s next feature, “Seal Team,” Larry Wilson (“The Addams Family, “Beatle Juice”) and Claus himself.
“Ainbo” turns on its plucky eponymous heroine, a girl who lives in the deep Amazon jungle, and her battle to save her world from Yacuruna, an ancient demon, embodied in deforestation and an illegal mining project. The visuals are to die for: sometimes a wash of pristine primary Amazon forest palette.
By way of contrast, as the world goes to pot, threatened by a huge flood, “Noah’s Ark” centers on the cunning stratagems of its protagonists,’ two minstrel mice, to save themselves. They manage to get on to a “refugee” ark and attempt to calm the fractious fall-out between animals with their shows. We’re all in the same boat, or ark, the film suggests.
“Noah’s Ark” is based on the hugely popular songs and poems of Bossa Nova musical legend Vinicius de Moraes who modeled the mice on Tom Jobin and himself.
Produced by Fabiano Gullane and Salles, “Noah’s Ark” will start production in early 2019. It is attracting a bevy of Brazil’s top-notch talent and production houses. Beto Villares, who composed the Rio 2016 Olympic Games opening night ceremony music, has committed to compose the soundtrack; music producer Mauricio Tagliari of YB Music has also boarded the animated feature.
“The quality of animation now coming out of Brazil is among the best in the world and with the creative team being assembled by Gullane and project managers Nip, we couldn’t be in better hands for this amazing family adventure feature,” Noeltner enthused.