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Frida Kahlo Animated Feature in the Works, Paloma Baeza Set to Direct (EXCLUSIVE)

The life and work of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo will be the subject of a new animated film from U.K.-based Lupus Films and Universal Content Group. Paloma Baeza has signed on to direct the as-yet-untitled, female-led project.

Salma Hayek produced and starred in a biopic of Kahlo, “Frida,” which scored six Oscar noms. The animated feature will, the producers said, depict Frida Kahlo’s life in a celebratory way, offering an accurate representation of her as an artist and a woman. The film will use 2D animation with some live-action elements.

Baeza, herself of Mexican descent, was one of the Variety Animators to Watch last year, and landed a best animated short BAFTA for “Poles Apart.” She is currently helming Alex Garland’s animation and live-action hybrid movie “The Toymaker’s Secret” for Sony Tristar.

“Frida Kahlo approached life with such vibrant energy, and was ahead of her time in many ways,” Baeza said. “With my Mexican heritage, it is particularly meaningful to have this opportunity to explore her deep and complex personality, as well as her relationship with Mexico’s past and its future. Lupus Films have a reputation as a highly respected artisanal animation studio so this project couldn’t be in better hands.”

Lupus Films managing director Camilla Deakin added that Kahlo, who died 65 years ago, remains an inspirational figure.

“Her story is startlingly modern and a powerful representation of how to embrace challenges and conflict in a meaningful and positive way,” she said. “As an all-female team of director and producers we are excited to be telling Frida’s story through animation, allowing us to capture the vivid palette of her work, her inspirations, and the colors and textures of Mexico, and we are delighted that such a talented director as Paloma Baeza shares our passion for this project.”

London-based Lupus’ first feature was Raymond Briggs adaptation “Ethel and Ernest.” It was backed by the BFI and well received after premiering at the 2016 London Film Festival. Its other film projects in the works include an animated version of Michael Morpurgo’s “Kensuke’s Kingdom,” with voice talent including Sally Hawkins, Cillian Murphy, and Ken Watanabe.

In TV, it has made specials including “The Snowman and The Snowdog” and “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” It is currently working on an adaptation of Judith Kerr’s classic book “The Tiger Who Came to Tea.”

Lupus is developing the Kahlo film with Universal Content Group, part of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and a unit of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group.

Paloma is repped by Verve and Bloom Hergott.

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