UFO Distribution has taken French rights on the Charades-sold “Unicorn Wars,” an Alberto Vázquez apocalyptic fantasy tale that got a Work in Progress session on Thursday at the Annecy Animation Festival.
UFO was tempted to pick up the rights for “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children” years ago, Stéphane Auclaire at UFO Distribution told Variety, adding: “The universe developed in ‘Unicorn Wars’ is less black, more colorful, ‘funnier,’ and fits perfectly to code transgressions – here, the childhood teddy bears which go to war– regularly addressed in the films we release, as was the case with Christopher Morris’ ‘4 Lions’ or the films by Quentin Dupieux (‘Rubber,’ ‘Wrong Cops’) or Bertrand Mandico (‘Altered Innocence,’ or soon ‘After Blue, Paradis Sale’).”
At the panel, judging by the images and explanations, it was clear that the free-spirited mix of acid humor, social scrutiny, and deep artistic DNA of the feature endorsed its author Vázquez (festivals hits “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children,” “Homeless Home”) as one the most established and personal voices in European adult animation.
And now, even more audacious. Budgeted at 3 million euros ($3,6 million), Oscar-winning Autour de Minuit producer Nicolas Schmerkin said during the panel: “I think it would need to be doubled at least. It’s a very challenging film, there are 1,500 shots, almost as many backgrounds and the ambition is very high.”
About the expectations in France, Auclaire said: “We are primarily aiming to the audiences of the ‘alternative culture’ films, but also more broadly to audiences sensitive to this ‘Adult Swim’ spirit who have grown considerably with ‘Rick and Morty,’ ‘Mr Pickles,’ etc.”
A Spain-France co-production between Iván Miñambres at Uniko, Chelo Loureiro from Abano Producións and Autour de Minuit, “Unicorn Wars” will open theatrically in France in the second half of 2022, according to Auclaire.