São Paulo-based Coala Filmes impressed in the series competition at last year’s Annecy Intl. Film Festival with an episode of their popular stop-motion series “Angeli the Killer,” based on the famous comics of the Brazilian comic-book writer of the same name.
This year, the film’s director Cesar Cabral and producer Ivan Melo are participating in the Cannes-Annecy Animation Day, which kicks off with a showcase where five animated features in progress will pitch at the Cannes Film Market. – “Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People” is a feature film adaptation, playing off one of the comics and series’ most popular characters.
In the film, Bob finds himself trapped in a post-apocalyptic desert inhabited by glamorous mutant ‘80s pop stars out for blood… Bob’s blood. In actual fact however, Bob’s world is actually a purgatory caused by writer’s block in the mind of his creator, the famous comic artist himself, Angeli. To overcome the block, Angeli decides it’s time to kill off Bob. However, Bob isn’t ready to go down that easily and decides to confront his maker.
Cabral talked about the feature with Variety in the lead-up to Animation Day, which runs Sunday, May 19.
“Angeli the Killer” was financed entirely by Ancine, which is facing a funding freeze at the moment. What has the freeze meant for how Coala moves forward, and is it affecting either ‘Bob Spit,’ or any other projects you had going on?
We are living a critical moment in many sectors of culture, education and a long list of government agencies in Brazil. As for Ancine, some changes started before this government, but now everything is frozen. It’s important to remember that we started this year without a Ministry of Culture. We have already ensured the budget for “Bob Spit,” since the film was started in 2015. But now, my next project, “A Brazilian Penguin,” is in a state of uncertainty as we were waiting for the result of some funds to complete financing. Furthermore, an agreement between Coala Filmes and Ancine for our series “Guard Dog and Bill Plympton in Brazil”, which was already approved, is now frozen. This is situation facing the bulk of Brazilian film companies.
The series is an anthology with many of the artist’s characters represented in their own dedicated scenes. Will characters other than Bob appear in the feature?
The proposal of the series was to bring new life to the universe of the magazine “Chiclete com Banana”, a huge success in the ‘80s-‘90s. The movie shows Bob as an older tough punk guy, like an Iggy Pop, from those comics. Besides Bob, we have The Kowalski Twins – sort of freakish, sensitive religious followers – created by Angeli in 2009. We also have short, but important cameos from the diva Re Bordosa, the guru Rhalah Rikota and the pair of pesky guys, The Skrotinhos, all created for “Chiclete com Banana.” If the series was based on Angeli’s ‘80s, with “Bob Spit” the intention was to use Angeli’s current work.
Angeli has famously killed a number of his main characters. How do you handle using famously dead characters? Bring them back to life?
No, we haven’t brought them back to life. When Angel kills them it’s forever. In the series we show the characters when they were still alive, in this case the 1980’s. The only exception being Re Bordosa, the most famous dead character, who was shown in hell but kept dialogues based on original texts created in the comics strips.
Bob in the feature looks a bit rougher, thinner and darker than Bob in the series. Can you talk a bit about what changes you made from series to film?
The look of the film is completely different compared to the series. The characters are more realistic and the animation style is more accurate. I’m working with the series art director and animation director, Daniel Bruson and Thomas Larson, respectively, and our challenge was, since the beginning of the project, to make something new and updated with Angeli’s work.
Angeli’s comics found breakout success around the world. How has the series done outside of Brazil? What are your plans for international distribution?
The series has only been broadcast in Brazil so far because of licensing deals. At the moment we are starting production of 10 more episodes of the series, and next year it will be available for worldwide broadcast. The series played in many festivals last year, and one of the episodes was even selected for competition at Annecy. With “Bob Spit” we have a distribution agreement for Brazil and we’ll be in Cannes looking for international distributors and sales agents.