Charades, the Paris-based sales company behind the Oscar-nominated “I Lost My Body” and “Mirai,” has closed a raft of deals on high-profile animated features, including “Little Nicholas” and “Marona’s Fantastic Tale.”
Anca Damian’s “Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” which world premiered in competition at last year’s Annecy Film Festival and was nominated at the European Film Awards, portrays a dog who, reflecting back on her life, reminisces about her different homes and owners after being hit by a car.
Set for a North American release later this year with Gkids, “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” has been acquired by Japan (Riskit), Spain (Pack Magic), the Baltics (Scanorama), Taiwan (Sky Digi), China (Legend Film), Poland (New Horizons), South Korea (Challan), Sweden (Triart) and Netherlands (Windmill). Damian’s followup to “Crulic: The Path to Beyond,” “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” is made with a range of styles, from expressionistic sketches to crayon drawings. “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” is produced by Aparte Films, Sacrebleu Prods. and Minds Meet.
“‘Little Nicholas,’ ‘Marona’s Fantastic Tale’ and ‘Bigfoot Superstar’ are different kinds of animated projects that are giving independent distributors an great alternative to studio-backed animated movies,” said Yohann Comte, co-founder of Charades, who’s attending the EFM with “Even Mice Belong in Heaven,” a stop-motion puppet animation project based on a bestseller.
Comte described “Marona” as a slow-burner that has continued to lure buyers, many of which are specialized in animation, after its world premiere at Annecy, whereas “Little Nicolas,” another auteur-driven feature but more mainstream, has already pre-sold to many territories and is expected to be delivered in the spring of 2020.
Like “Marona,” “Little Nicholas” will likely bow at a festival, said Comte, who added that the company will be investing more in animated feature going forward, and will be coming on board as co-producers, on top of repping international rights. “We’ll always make sure to have an eclectic lineup of animated features so that they don’t cannibalize and have projects that are driven by auteurs who have a voice and a style,” said Comte, citing the Oscar-nominated “I Lost My Body” by Jérémy Clapin, and Mamoru Hosoda’s “Mirai” as examples.
“Little Nicholas,” meanwhile, is a hand-drawn animated feature project based on the popular series of French children’s books from the ’60s. The feature is being directed by Gilles de Maistre (“Mia and the White Lion”) and Amandine Fredon. Charades has sold it to South Korea (A-One), Czech Republic & Slovakia (Aero & Mozinet), Middle East (Empire), Greece (Feelgood), Switzerland (Impuls), Portugal (Lusomundo), Poland (Monolith), Taiwan (Proview), Russia (Volga), Turkey (Yeni Films) and Ex-Yugoslavia (2i).
“Little Nicholas” being produced by French animation powerhouse On Entertainment (“The Little Prince”), in co-production with Foliascope (“The Tower”), Luxembourg outfit Bidibul Prods. (“A Cat in Paris”) and Canada’s Kaibou.
Charades has also closed a flurry of pre-sales on the 3D animated feature “Bigfoot Superstar,” the sequel to “Son of Bigfoot,” directed by Ben Stassen and Jérémie Degruson. The movie was picked up for Latin America (CDC), Italy (Koch Media), Scandinavia (Scanbox), China (Wing Sight), Turkey (Ozen), Malaysia (Metropolis), Taiwan (Avjet) and French-speaking Africa (Films 26). Budgeted at more than $20 million, “Bigfoot Superstar” is based upon an original story by Stassen, and was written by Bob Barlen and Cal Brunker (“Escape From Planet Earth,” “The Nut Job 2”). “Son of Bigfoot” was released internationally in 2017 and grossed more than $50 million worldwide.