As science fiction, and dystopian cyberpunk in particular, surge in mainstream popularity – see “Blade Runner 2049,” “Dredd” or the upcoming “Alita: Battle Angel” – a question often asked is: Can this genre be adapted for younger audiences?
A possible answer might be that yes, and animation is the perfect medium with which to do so.
Portugal’s Animais, a company best-known for its award-winning animated short films, has a possible answer of their own. The company behind “Between the Shadows,” which pitched at Annecy before winning the Arte France Prize in 2016 and making it to the final cut of 12 films short-listed for that year’s Cesar Awards, is working on their first series, the 3D animated “7 Boxes,” which takes place in a rainy, neon-lit city which will be familiar to cyberpunk fans.
Pitched at Spain’s 3D Wire, an increasingly important Iberian and European animation festival held in Segovia each year, “7 Boxes” is a seven-episode 3D animated series meant for and set in a world of kids.
“We had this idea to develop a series around the subject of technology. The idea was to put into perspective how technology changed or affected how children relate to each other and to their parents when they are almost, or at least a lot of the time, connected to their smart phones, laptops and smart TVs, connected to screens,” director Davide Freitas explained at 3D Wire.
The series takes place in a city of near-brainwashed screen-obsessed children, watched over by an army of drones and their authoritarian leader Whiteface, a control freak clown who dictates that the children must stay inside, watching a TV program he broadcasts daily in order to keep them safe.
Each of the series’ seven episodes will correspond with seven boxes belonging to specific characters. It’s discovered by Pandora, one of the children unsatisfied with a life sat in front of the TV, that through her painting she can open a box to another world, full of color and light and completely opposite to the dim, dark place she calls home.
Along with her friends, a reprogrammed robot companion and a mysterious stranger, the kids will learn the truth behind their depressing captivity and explore their own boxes while work together to enlighten the world.
“Together they discover things about themselves and the things they like to do,” Freitas said. “They discover things about each other, and in this process of awareness and discovery they get to a point where they realize the need to change the city of boxes.”
€600,000 ($695,000 USD) of the series €1million ($1.16million USD) budget is already is covered by pre-sales to Portuguese national TV, and Animais are looking for possible co-producers, sales agents and distributors to complete the budget and finish production.