Simon Crowe’s SC Films International has boarded Filipino superhero adventure, “Zsazsa Zaturnnah vs. the Amazonistas of Planet X,” a buoyant animated feature produced by Franck Priot at Paris’ Ghosts City Films and director Avid Liongoren of Manila-based Rocketsheep Studio.
The acquisition looks set to push Filipino animation into a more global spotlight, pairing this trailblazing project with a highly respected, long-standing animation sales company.
SC Films has already been linked to high-profile French production companies on animated features such as Folivari’s “Pachamama” and TeamTO’s “Yellowbird.”
“‘Zsazsa’ continues SC Films interest in the wonderful world of animation. Basically, we just loved the unique pitch and believe it’s not only a fun story but an important one too. Avid is a real talent,” related Crowe.
The film follows Ada, a meek and lovelorn salon owner who pines for his attractive neighbor Dodong while confiding in co-worker Didi.
When a mysterious comet falls to earth, Ada’s coerced into swallowing it whole and, once ingested, turns into voluptuous and headstrong superhero Zsazsa, now in charge of taking on a group of interplanetary Amazonistas tasked with eradicating men from earth.
Based on the Philippine LGBTQ graphic novel written by Carlo Vergara that reached cult status, the tale’s brought to life via exuberant 2D animation by Liongoren, who showcased his captivating work on Annecy selected Netflix acquisition, “You Animal.”
“While my main goal is to tell a funny and entertaining story, my advocacy is also to showcase Filipino animation talent to the world. The Philippines is a go-to nation for animation service work but, sadly, we are not known for ideating and producing animated films,” Liongoren said.
He added: “There’ve been less than 10 animated feature films in the entire 100 year history of Philippine cinema. My team and I hope to continue adding to our nation’s feature animation filmography and establishing Filipino animators as not just service providers, but creators.”
Redefining stale superhero tropes and taking advantage of its campy, relatable edge, the film centers an Asian LGBTQ hero in a valiant push toward inclusivity and representation.
“‘Zsazsa’ has a unique freshness that will differentiate itself, as there never was such an irreverent LGBTQ animated feature,” Priot said.
The film received support from the ICOF Fund, targeting co-productions and backed by Filipino state agency FDCP.
Headed by Priot, who boasts 30 years in the film industry and a prior role as COO of Film France– the nationwide French film commission – Ghosts City Films produces groundbreaking French and Chinese cinema, with a focus on new filmmakers that nudge boundaries.
“Zsazsa” looks towards a 2024 Cannes or Toronto release with SC Films touting two animated Cannes debuts this year, powerful Holocaust trauma survival tale “My Fathers Secrets,” and work in progress “Headspace,” a topsy-turvy space story that centers on an unlikely 16-year old hero saddled with saving the earth after a freak accident.