Stuttgart-based sales company Sola Media has taken international rights to animated feature “Gus, the Guide Dog,” currently in pre-production and to be directed by Portugal’s Bruno Simões, an animation director and previs artist who has worked on films such as “Skyfall,” “Epic” and “Rio 2.”
Family-oriented “Gus” is produced by Roger Torras at Barcelona’s WKND, Humberto Santana at Animanostra (Portugal), and Xosé Zapata at Sygnatia (Spain). Producers are in talks with a company from a third country to join the team. The feature will also be produced with the support of Movistar Plus and Spanish pubcaster TVE.
The feature follows Gus, a service dog by nature, but who lives on the streets. He’s joyful and his positivity is contagious. When he meets Gwen, a 14-year blind girl, he will do the impossible to become Gwen’s eyes. However, their parents think she will be better with a professional guide dog.
“It’s “a film about ‘man’s best friend,’ with a real underdog and the message ‘It’s O.K. to be different’ will appeal to children and families around the world. We expect to license the film to the whole world as it will enchant and inspire both buyers and moviegoers,” Sola Media managing director Solveig Langeland told Variety.
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“We’re really happy about the way our project has been welcomed. We got all the development funds we applied for, and the same has occurred with broadcasters and platforms in Spain so far. This has never happened to me before,” Torras said, adding: “Sola Media has been a big boost. Their input in creative and technical areas have been really useful.”
Borja Montoro will serve as character designer. Montoro has worked as animator for Disney and character designer for Blue Sky Studios. Cristina Roquetas (“Hanna and the Monsters”) penned the script.
Conceived in 3D, “Gus” mixes elements from adventure and buddy movies. “It’s also about discrimination and feeling inept because of one’s skin tone, social class or blood lineage. It’s about friendship and trust and finding one’s purpose in life,” director Simões told Variety.
The story takes place in a world very similar to ours, in which humans behave like humans, and dogs behave like dogs. Dogs can speak amongst themselves, but not to humans. The beauty is that dogs and humans, as in our world, have ways of communicating without spoken language.
“Gus” is about to enter in pre-production and is scheduled to be ready for delivery at the beginning of 2024.