Marc Du Pontavice, whose Paris-based company, Xilam, won Cannes Critics’ Week top prize with the animated feature “I Lost My Body,” is set to expand the scope of his listed outfit with new projects directed at adults and teens.
Among these projects is a series adaptation of “Monkey Bizness,” the popular French comics created by Pozla and El Diablo, the pair behind “Les Lascars.” Xilam has acquired the right to the comics collection and is collaborating with the authors on a half-hour comedy series for young adults. The series is set in a future world dominated by monkeys. It follows the adventures of two clumsy, incompetent underachievers working for the local mafia.
“‘Monkey Bizness’ will be an offbeat and irreverent comedy series appealing primarily to young adults,” said Du Pontavice, who was honored Tuesday at the Annecy Film Festival. The producer said he would likely get a streaming service on board for “Monkey Bizness.”
“There is a strong demand right now for niche projects like ‘Monkey Bizness’ because platforms allow us to target a niche globally and therefore gives us the possibility to access bigger budgets than if we were trying to finance a series based on a niche in a single market,” Du Pontavice said.
Listed on the Paris stock exchange since 2002, Xilam has seen its value skyrocket by 300% to nearly €40 per share, bolstered by the success of nonverbal slapstick comedy series like “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” “Zig and Sharko” and, more recently, “Paprika.” The company recently branched out to animated features for adults and families, such as Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Hand,” and intends to do more of these. Du Pontavice said Xilam was working with Clapin on his next project.
Sold by Charades, “I Lost My Body” was acquired by Netflix following its Cannes premiere for worldwide rights with the exception of China, Benelux, Switzerland, Russia and France. Du Pontavice said the movie marked a milestone because it’s one of the rare animated film for adults which isn’t political.
“‘I Lost My Body’ is first and foremost a romantic comedy and an intimate, singular film. The fantasy aspect comes second, and when you watch the movie you quickly forget it’s animated, notably because it’s shot like a live-action film,” said Du Pontavice.
At Annecy, Xilam also unveiled its series project with Disney Plus, “Chip ‘n’ Dale,” which will be a reboot of the cult series. The show will be driven by slapstick comedy and will follow a pair of chipmunks who struggle with life in the big city. Du Pontavice said Disney approached Xilam not only to handle the animation but also create the entire reboot.
“It’s very rewarding to collaborate with Disney on bringing back these beloved characters,” said Du Pontavice, adding that the company has been developing the series for the last two years.
“I Lost My Body” will be released in France by Rezo on Nov. 6.