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Annecy: ‘Small Town,’ ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ to Unspool at Mifa’s Animation! Focus

Pitching sessions strengthen relationship between Annecy and Ventana Sur's Animation!

ANNECY, France—Walter Tournier’ “Small Town,” TV series “What Would Jesus Do?” and Gastón Gorali’s “Escape to India” are among  five projects to be pitched on Wednesday June 13 at Mifa’s Animation!, a selection of winners at November’s Latin American animation co-production-sales market, held as part of  Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur.

In an alliance between Ventana Sur’s animation mini-mart and the Annecy festival, a showcase of Latin American animated features and TV projects were pitched in Buenos Aires last November. A jury selected four projects for the Animation! Focus @Mifa. A fifth –”Escape to India– has been added as a guest project.

In family comedy “Small Town,” Uruguayan stop-motion pioneer Tournier (“Selkirk”) directs a story set in a small town where its inhabitants have managed to combine the amount of methane expelled by the cows with porous stones in order to produce renewable energy. This implies a sudden spectacular ambition from its inhabitants and businessmen but not for a couple of kids, who are very fond of Celestine, a cow. The feature is co-produced by Uruguay’s La Suma, Argentina’s Nuts Media and Brazil’s Coala Filmes, with a budget set at $2.4 million.

Colombian producer Andrea Cataño Pulgarín is behind the only TV series in the cut  –Julián David Hernández Castillo’s “What Would Jesus Do?,” a 24-minute, 12 episode TV show targeting adult demos. A sitcom with action and sci-fi touches “Jesus” paints a fantasy scenario imagining that God’s son didn’t go to Heaven on the third day after his crucifixion but rather remain on earth facing how to pay the rent alongside his buddies The Dove and The Leper. Series represents a little explored line in Latin America of adult animation. Budgeted at $6.3 million, it uses cut-ot animation.

CREDIT: Courtesy: Animation!

“Grimalkin” is being developed by Sant Arellano, formerly working for Mexico’s Huevocartoon Producciones, the outfit responsible for “Un gallo con muchos huevos,” the sixth-highest-grossing foreign-language release in the U.S. since 2013. Targeting 8-12 year-old children and family audiences, “Grimalkin” – “cat” in archaic English – narrates in a horror comedy how a domestic cat’s love for his family is severely tested when mischievous creatures invade the house. A CGI project, it is budgeted at $6 million.

Argentina’s Artan Animation offers the exquisitely animated adventure “Confite,” directed by Juaco Garin and targeting family audiences. The 2D feature chronicles the moving friendship between a dog and Clara through time and distance, when they are separated by war. It carries a $5.5 million budget.

“Escape to India” is a $5 million-budgeted production of Juan José Campanella’s Mundo Loco. Directed by Gastón Gorali  – co-writer and producer of Campanella’s “Underdogs”– it weighs in as a musical comedy following Azadi, a valiant cow who, destined for the slaughterhouse in Patagonia, escapes and begins an epic journey to India, where her mother has told her that cows live in a paradise.

Last year Annecy Festival staged a very well-received work-in-progress showcase of Latin American animation titles at Buenos Aires’ Animation! mart. It included Rodrigo Pérez Castro’s “Koati the Movie,” Germán Acuña’s “Nahuel and the Magical Book,” Andrés Couturier’s “Here Comes the Grump,” David Bisbano’s “Dalia and the Red Book” and Otto Guerra’s “City of Pirates.” All of them are now in advanced production.

A celebration of the Amazon’s palette and creatures, “Koati” has recently closed an agreement with Ralph Kamp’s Timeless Films (U.K.) for worldwide distribution –with the exception of the U.S., Canada and Latin America territories. Carrying an appealing message of hope and the possibility of overcoming adversity, ”Nahuel” is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2019.

A spin-off of the successful comedy series with the same title, “Here Comes the Grump” will be released in Mexico this summer via Corazón Films. International sales are being handled by London’s GFM Films.

FilmSharks Intl.’s Guido Rud has boarded “Dalia” as a co-producer and sales agent. Is makers are now in discussions with a potential Brazilian co-producer. “City of Pirates” is about to initiate sound mixing in order to finish the movie.

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