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MK2 Leaps Into ‘A Winter’s Journey’ Made By ‘Despicable Me,’ ‘Loving Vincent’ Artists (EXCLUSIVE)

MK2 has boarded Alex Helfrecht’s “A Winter’s Journey,” a feature blending live-action, CGI and hand-painted backgrounds made by the creative teams behind “Despicable Me” and “Loving Vincent.”

Adapted from Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise,” the film stars Gaspard Ulliel, John Malkovich, Martina Gedeck, Charles Berling  and newcomer Gabriella Moran.

Set in 1812 Bavaria, the film tells the story of a lovelorn young poet who, banished from society, is forced to wander across mountains, ice and snow on a dangerous journey that will either lead him to death or to a new life.

“A Winter’s Journey’ is a passionate love story with epic visuals. It’s an animated film… putting performance at its core and speaking the international language of music and art,” said Helfrecht.

MK2 Films has acquired international sales rights and will begin pre-sales at the EFM. “Helfrecht’s unique vision for this adaptation of Franz Schubert’s timeless masterpiece is one of the most stunning packages we have come across in recent years,” said Juliette Schrameck, the managing director at MK2 films, the Paris-based company which had five films competing at last year’s Cannes, including Celine Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Young Lady on Fire.”

Schrameck said the film had the potential to appeal to audiences beyond classical music fans. “The rotoscoping technique will make it dream-like and the support of world-class baritone Andrè Schuen and Deutsche Gramophon are a seal of quality for its epic soundtrack,” added the executive.

Mac Guff (“Despicable Me” and “Azur & Asmar”) are doing the rotoscoping and animation on the film and Breakthru Films (“Loving Vincent”) will be designing and painting the backgrounds.

“A Winter’s Journey” is produced by Oiffy (“The White King”), Les Films d’ici (“Waltz With Bashir”), Cité Films and Pandora Film (“Monos”). The film is now in production and expected to be delivered in 2022.

“’A Winter’s Journey’ is a true passion project built upon Franz Schubert’s masterpiece which feels as modern and topical today as it did two centuries ago,” said Oiffy’s Jörg Tittel, who is producing the film along with Charlotte Uzu, Reinhard Brundig, Raphael Berdugo and Richard Mansell.

“It’s a story for all of us outsiders and romantic souls struggling to finding a place in this divided world,” added Tittel.

MK2 is in Berlin with Jia Zhangke’s documentary “Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue,” which will be having its world premiere in the Berlinale Special section, among other films.

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