Nicolas Schmerkin’s Paris-based Autour de Minuit has boarded Alfredo Soderguit and Alejo Schettini’s “Two Little Birds” (“Dos pajaritos”), the first winner of La Liga contest, an award created by Argentina’s Animation!, Spain’s Quirino Awards and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three major events in Ibero-American animation.
The project will be pitched at the upcoming Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival on June 13.
Autour de Minuit will co-produce the animated series. A non-dialogue slapstick about two bitter bird enemies, “Two Little Birds” is produced by Luciana Roude at Buenos Aires’ Can Can Club –a longtime associate of Argentine stop-motion master Juan Pablo Zaramella – director of “The Tiniest Man in the World” and 2011 Annecy winner and Oscar-shortlisted “Luminaris” – and Uruguay’s Palermo Estudio, ran by Alfredo Soderguit and Alejo Schettini, director and animation director/co-writer of the 2013 Bafici Audience Award winner “Anina.”
“With such a minimalist and universal non-dialogue concept, these little birds have an enormous expressivity and storytelling potential to seduce kids and people who aren’t so kids. It’s an all-together ‘cute,’ humorous and deep series which, beneath its cartooning presentation, tackles crucial issues such as ecology, excessive consumption, immigration or religion,” Schmerkin told Variety.
Schmerkin was honored as Producer of the Year at 2016’s Cartoon Movie. Some of his productions include Oscar-winning toon short “Logorama,” directed by François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain, 2014 Cartoon d’Or winner “A Town Called Panic: The Christmas Log,” by Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar, and Alberto Vázquez’s “Decorado” and “Unicorn Wars.” A prolific shorts producer, Schmerkin is a key discoverer of talent in European animation.
A three-minute, 52 episode TV series, “Two Little Birds” is based on the same-titled book by Colombian children’s books illustrator Dipacho. Soderguit ran into Dipacho’s book when he was working on the sound for “Anina.”
The book offered a “simple, funny and effective story showing some of the most ludicrous aspects of human behavior,” Soderguit told Variety adding: “It’s a very elemental plot about a black bird and a white bird sharing the same tree. The two little birds bring useless things to the branches in a ridiculous competition putting themselves and the tree at risk.”
The only difference between the two birds is their feathers’ color. We can figure that they are neighbors, a couple, siblings or just strangers. They live in a single tree with a straight trunk dividing the image into two sides. At the end of every story, they will have to face the consequences of their behavior.
A comedy about human relationships, “Two Little Birds” will be made in 2D with backgrounds built in real material and stop-motion objects to achieve a comedic expressiveness and hopefully gorgeous aesthetics.
The series started its development process at Uruguay’s Palermo, which then joined forces then with Can Can, a Buenos Aires’ outfit specialized in high quality, state-of-the-art stop-motion. Part of the production is also intended to take place at Autour de Minuit’s studio in Paris and at Borderline Films, its recently-created new studio set up at Angoulême, Schmerkin said.
A Buenos Aires’ producer based in France since the 1980s, Schmerkin always dreamed about being involved in an Argentine animation project. “I finally found it,” he enthused.