Sébastien Onomo, producer of 2018 Annecy Crystal winner “Funan,” has teamed with Romanian animator Anca Damian to co-produce her new project “Starseed.” Damian’s first feature, “Crulic,” similarly topped Annecy, in 2011. Her most recent film, “Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” took both best feature and audience awards at Bucheon in 2019.
“Starseed” will be co-produced by Damian’s label Aparte Film and Onomo at France’s Special Touch Studios and Creative Touch Studios.
Set at a Zimbabwe school, “Starseed” follows Geekisde, a special but lonely girl with albino features. Bullied by other children and feeling different to the rest of her schoolmates, she finds strength in the love of her mother and learns that she might be from a different planet.
“Starseed” will be pitched as a project at concept stage at next week’s Cartoon Movie, where Damian will also present another title at a more advanced stage of development, “The Island,” a modern Robinson Crusoe musical.
Describing Anca as one of the most talented and prolific animation artists of the last decade, Onomo stated that ‘Starseed’ is “exactly what we try to develop through my companies, Special Touch Studios and Creative Touch Studios – a project that offers us a personal and humanist vision of the world, with strong artistic DNA.”
He added: “As far as I know, there is no animation movie about albinism. And we will tackle this sensitive topic in Africa with respect and ambition, poetry and authenticity through universal characters who will permit us to reach a large audience.”
Always combining social concerns and risk-taking artistic innovation, in “Starseed” Damian goes one step further venturing into a cosmic realm, aiming to seduce larger audiences.
“All my films search for the meaning of life while confronting human destiny, always seeing life as a lesson in love.” Damian told Variety, adding: “There is also a growing aim of reaching audiences, as I believe that cinema is an art that should provide meaning, beauty and also entertainment.”
One of Europe’s most renowned animators, Damian’s “Crulic” took 35 international prizes after winning Annecy’s Crystal for the best animated feature. An exuberant debut blending watercolors, cutouts, drawings, photographs and news footage, “Crulic” narrated the true story of a 33-year-old Romanian who was arrested for theft and died after a hunger strike in a Polish jail.
The Romanian director’s sophomore effort, an animated docudrama titled “The Magic Mountain,” won a Special Jury Mention at Karlovy Vary in 2015 among amultiple kudos. According to a Variety review, the film was “a work of overwhelming artistry.”
The 23rd Cartoon Movie will take place entirely online, running March 9-11.