×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Studiocanal Sets Folivari’s ‘Samsam’ for Distribution Over Half the World (EXCLUSIVE)

Suggesting once more that audiences are underserved by high-quality independent animation, Studiocanal has closed multiple major territories to “Samsam,” the latest movie from Folivari, headed by Didier Brunner whose producer credits include the Academy Award nominated “The Old Lady and the Pidgeons,” “The Triplets of Belleville,” “The Secret of Kells” and “Ernest & Celestine.”

A departure for Folivari – it’s first full 3D feature, and a pre-school sci-fi adventure – as the company, run by Didier Brunner  and Damien Brunner explores ever more upscale TV and talent from outside France and multifarious combinations 2D and 3D animation, without sacrificing its auteur-empowering philosophy and striving fir artistic excellence, the Folivari-Studiocanal co-production has closed licensing deals for China, in a banner deal with Wingsight, South Korea (Joy N Cinema), Scandinavia (Svensk) and CIS and the Baltic states (Volga).

In further deals, also often with frequent Studiocanal partners, Studiocanal has pre-sold Switzerland, a country which punched above its weight as a cinema market, with Impuls, Greece with Odeon and Portugal with major independent Lusomundo, former Yugoslavia with Megacom, Turkey with Bir and Lebanon and the Gulf states with Salim Ramia.

In Asia, Shaw has purchased Singapore, Blue Lantern Vietnam and Caichang Taiwan. Latin America, a key territory for family fare, is in negotiations, said Anne Cherel, Studiocanal head of international current movies sales.

Studiocanal will release “Samsam” in France. Of its other direct distribution territories – the U.K., Australia/New Zealand and Germany, talks are ongoing as to whether to distribute directly or via a third-party distributor, Cherel added.

Whichever way it goes, Studiocanal now has distribution guaranteed in 60% of major territories in the world, with more to close shortly. That marks spirited sales for a title which has yet to be finished – just excerpts played at the Annecy Goes to Cannes showcase last month and which was brought onto the market at the Berlin Festival.

Why “Samsam” has sold so fast is another question.

CREDIT: Cartoon Forum

Turning on a plucky tiny-tot in another cosmos who has a red face mask, stick-up ears and a dinky flying saucer capsule, “Samsam” is already a brand – immensely important for both Studiocanal and Folivari, which want to grow European brands and take them to the world. The results have given Studiocanal its biggest global hit ever, the David Heyman-produced “Paddington,” which earned $268.1 million worldwide. SamSam comic books, created by Serge Bloch, are available in 11 languages with one million copies sold worldwide; its Gulli-aired TV series, sold by Moonscoop and directed like the movie by Terguy de Kermel, has been broadcast in 50 territories, with an audience of 250 million and notched up 65 million views on YouTube; and a third season, produced by Folivari, is coming out in 2021.

“‘Samsam’ is a brand that is already known in many territories, thanks to the TV series,” Cherel said. A Samsam movie can prove attractive to broadcasters, helping to keep the brand alive.  The series, with two seasons and a total 91 episodes broadcast to date since 2007, can help power up licensing opportunities as well, Cherel pointed out.

When buyers’ looked at “Samsam,” “they also considered that it is Folivari,” said Cherel. Very few production houses can match its reputation for artistic excellence on films which are theatrical propositions.

Despite being a departure, “Samsam” is not that far from Folivari’s wheelhouse, addressing, if obliquely, the issue of diversity, as in “Ernest & Celestine” and “The Big Bad fox and Other Tales.”Samsam struggles in the movie with what he believes are the expectation his parents, both super heroes, have of hm.He just can’t wait for his own super-powers to kick in. He has to learn that other things are as super, as friendship and courage. “Samsam” also has the sense of fun adventure of some other recent Brunner productions, such as “The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales.”

“‘Samsam’ has amazing production values, the music will be amazing, the story, the humor, the characters – everything is well done. There are not so many producers who work with not only such expertise but also passion, which is necessary when you’re working on such projects,” Cherel concluded.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Issa Rae Portrait

    Issa Rae Developing Remake of Crime Thriller 'Set It Off'

    “Insecure” star and co-creator Issa Rae is in early development on a remake of New Line’s crime thriller “Set If Off,” which starred Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise. Rae will produce with plans to star in the remake. Syreeta Singleton and Nina Gloster have been hired to pen the script. [...]

  • Thomas Golubic8th Annual Guild of Music

    Guild of Music Supervisors President: 'The Economics of the Job Don't Work Anymore'

    The Guild of Music Supervisors (GMS) hosted its 5th annual “State of Music in Media” conference on Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Los Angeles Film School. Featuring a wide array of panel discussions on all manner of issues related to music in film, television and advertising, the confab drew top composers, music supervisors, licensing and [...]

  • Gay Chorus Deep South

    Film News Roundup: Documentary 'Gay Chorus Deep South' Bought for Awards Season Release

    In today’s film news roundup, the documentaries “Gay Chorus Deep South” and “Tread” find homes, Tobin Bell’s latest horror film completes production and Emilio Insolera joins “355.” ACQUISITIONS Related First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy in Amazon, Studiocanal's 'Louis Wain' Korean Comedy 'Cheer Up, Mr. Lee' to be Remade in French MTV Documentary Films [...]

  • Bad Education

    What 'Bad Education' Taught Us About the Slow Toronto Film Festival Market

    “Bad Education,” a dramedy starring Hugh Jackman as the embezzling superintendent of district of schools in Long Island, N.Y., was set to be this year’s “I, Tonya.” The movie has the same biting tone, shifting between comedy and tragedy. It received strong reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival. And like “I, Tonya,” it even [...]

  • For web story

    Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed the rights to “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Variety has learned. The indie label plans to release the film in 2020. The Italian-American thriller was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and stars Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland. Scott Smith adapted Charles Willeford’s novel of the same name, transporting [...]

  • Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis

    Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis to Star in 'Justice of Bunny King'

    Essie Davis, star of “The Babadook” and autumn festival hit “Babyteeth,” and “Jojo Rabbit” co-star Thomasin McKenzie will headline upcoming drama “The Justice of Bunny King.” The film, now shooting in New Zealand, is a triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society. It is the debut feature [...]

  • Calm With Horses

    Nick Rowland Talks About Toronto Debut Film 'Calm With Horses'

    “Calm with Horses,” which made its world premiere in Toronto’s TIFF in the Discovery section, is the feature directorial debut of Nick Rowland (Amazon series “Ripper Street”), and stars Barry Keoghan (Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals,” “Dunkirk”), Cosmo Jarvis (“Annihilation”), and Niamh Algar (BBC’s “The Virtues”). The script, which was adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content