L.A. and Paris-based Cinema Management Group (CMG) has closed several sales on animated pic “Away” premiering at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival where this lyrical tale of a boy traveling across a mysterious land has the distinction of coming from the youngest director in the event’s official selection, 25-year-old Latvian Gints Zilbalodis.
“Away” bowed on Monday in Annecy’s new Contrechamp section. which focuses on exciting emerging talents from ll over the world, and is written, directed, and produced by Zilbalodis, who also composed the music. The film, which has no dialogue, is divided in four chapters. The protagonist parachutes on an island, walks, swims and rides a motorcycle across barren deserts, lagoons, and beautiful forests making connections with animals, all the while chased by a dark spirit.
In a rare case of an indie animated feature debut from a currently little-known filmmaker getting picked up early in the game, “Away” has been acquired prior to its Annecy premiere by Front Row Filmed Entertainment for the Middle East, by Kino Swiat for Poland, and by Films4You for Poland. The film was well-received at the Zagreb Animation Festival last week.
Zilbalodis, who lives and works in the Riga, the Latvian capital, describes the storyline of “Away” as being a sort of “reflection of the creative process of making the film itself,” according to a statement. The film, which combines dreamlike and more naturalistic elements, is produced by Zilibalodis’ own Bilibaba company and made using 3D computer imaging.
The young Latvian multi-hyphenate has gained a reputation among international animation cognoscenti for his stylish shorts such as “Priorities,” “Aqua,” and “Oasis,” made while he was still in high school, which travelled widely on the festival circuit.
CMG President Edward Noeltner in the statement praised Gints’ accomplishment with this film as “absolutely stunning.”
“To think that he spent the last three-and-a-half years working on this amazing film all by himself is a real testament to the maturity of this young artist and his dedication to his art,” Noeltner added.
CMG, which in 2017 brought Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent” to Annecy, this year is also premiering Mexican director Carlos Gutierrez Medrano’s “Salma’s Big Wish” in the Contrechamp section of the French fest and has sold pretty much half the world, when it comes to major territories, on that animated feature.