CANNES — Recife-based CinemaScópio Produções and Paris’ Les Valseurs have teamed on “A Garça” (The Heron), the feature debut from Brazil’s Nara Normande, co-authored by Tião.

Brazilian CinemaScópio is behind Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ Brazilian Western-thriller “Bacurau,” in competition at Cannes. Les Valseurs is also presenting Qiu Yang’s short “She Runs” at Critics’ Week.

“The Heron” is the story of a group of kids in the summer of 1996 in an isolated fishing village on Brazil’s northeast coast. For a holiday 14-year-old Léo, a boy from the big city, comes to visit his cousins. He is introduced to their universe of freedom and meets a girl known to the other kids as ‘Sem Coração’ (Heartless), for a deep surgical scar she has on her chest.”

The feature is a follow-up of Normande and Tião’s 2014 short “Heartless,” which snagged the Illy Prize for best short film at that year’s Directors’ Fortnight showcase.

Tião has previously participated at Cannes with his short “Wall” in the Directors’ Fortnight 2008 selection where he took the Un Regard Neuf prize for best short film. Tião’s first feature film, “Animal Político,” premiered at the 2016 Rotterdam Film Festival and screened at the Torino, Jeonju and Durban fests among others.

Normande’s latest short “Guaxuma” is a delicate animated piece combining diverse techniques, mainly made with colored sand. It collected a flurry of kudos including best animated short at SXSW, Guadalajara, Cinequest and recently at Tenerife’s Quirino Awards. It’s also qualified for Oscars 2020.

“’The Heron’ will expand the story of ‘Heartless’ but in directions that will be surprising both in style and themes,” Emilie Lesclaux at CinemaScópio told Variety.

“The story, inspired by personal childhood memories and experiences, should be a feast for Nara and Tião to defy conventional ways of dealing with coming of age dramas,” she added, saying “I see a rich fictional universe, a complex social texture and a landscape that are not very much explored in Brazilian contemporary cinema –the gorgeous Alagoas coast.”

Shooting is scheduled to begin fall 2020.

“We intend to shoot ‘The Heron’ mostly with the camera close to the characters, as a part of the kids’ group, with the possibility of key actions also happening out of frame. The sets will be dressed with a natural approach evoking the mid-‘90s when the story takes place,” Normande said.

Tião commented: “The semi-desert beaches, coconut groves and vast landscapes in all its color, sound and exuberance will feature not only as a backdrop, but in fact as an important character in the narrative.”

“We want to continue doing films which clearly reveal our position for freedom, diversity and inclusion, which we believe are pillars of our career,” the director concluded.

“In the future we want to do films that are quite different one from another, from animation to horror driven movies, visiting different universes of interest and ways of doing,”

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Nara Normande, Tião