MIFA market organizers have whittled down more than 400 project submissions to the 35 most promising concepts for feature films, short films, transmedia properties, TV specials/series and the Animation du Monde section, celebrating the creativity of emerging animation-producing countries. A variety of prizes will be awarded, ranging from cash and co-production assistance to residencies and development contracts. A little boy takes off on a journey to save the world from a “fright epidemic” because people are falling ill whenever they get suddenly scared. Kim, a young gangster accused of treason, is forced to flee Saigon. Hurt and confused, he is rescued by a strange duo: Thao, an old one-legged gambler, and his granddaughter Lan. On the small roads of the Mekong Delta, the trio heads to Cambodia. Paco’s lifelong dream comes true and then he meets the love he has always been searching for. This is the story of a generation of 40-year-olds that everyone can identify with. Solo Lobo is a clumsy bandit who roams the prairie on the back of his mule and tries to rob travellers. One day, a puppy becomes part of his loot and he suddenly has the chance to become a rich man if he returns the puppy to its owner. Based on the story of the German ethnologist Curt Nimuendajú, who lived in Brazil from 1903 until his death. He studied nearly 50 indigenous peoples and died in Amazonia under mysterious circumstances. tchaud Mathilde Parquet (France) Direc- tor: Alix Fizet Traces (France) Directors: Hugo Frassetto, Sophie Tavert Entre Sombras (Portugal) Directors: Mónica Fernandes Dos Santos, Alice Guimarães La Lampadaire (Bulgaria/ France) Director: Emma Vakarelova
(France) Director: Julie Rem- Carpelle (France/ Hungary) Directors: Sarolta Szabo, Tibor Banoczki Planthéon (France) Director: Thomas Pons O Diário de Alice (Brazil) Director: Diogo Viegas Mille et un Moyen Âge (France) Directors: Paul Bourgois, Jérémy Boulard Massie Flee (Denmark) Director: Jonas Poher-Rasmussen Duval (U.K.) Director: Felix tor: Lluis Sanchez Jorge Deluze Elemented (Canada) Directors: Emily Paige, Daniel Gies tor: Daniel Khamdamov Director: Branislav Brkich Astrononeko (France) Directors: Axel Rousseau, Clément De Ruyter Nothing Happens (Denmark) Director: Uri Kranot Animation du Monde Mallinson ovska (Peru) Director: Jimmy Carhuas Step into the River (China) Director: Weijia Ma Dog Days (Georgia) Director: Vakhtang Tato Kotetishvili
(Georgia) Director: Sandro Kata- Khamsa (Algeria) Directors: Khaled Chiheb, Messaoud Rouag, Kamal Zakour (China) Director: Mengqian Chen (China) Director: Ginger
Having successfully turned its The Snow Queen animated feature into an impressive global animation franchise, Wizart Animation is back with another original animated feature aspiring to franchise status in Sheep and Wolves.
The action-comedy feature centers on rival animal groups that settle near each other, with conflict seeming inevitable until wolfpack leader Grey finds himself magically transformed into a ram and sees what life is like on the other side.
Wizart debuted the movie in April in its home nation of Russia, and next takes the movie to Annecy where it is an official feature film in competition.
We caught up with producers Vladimir Nikolaev and Yuri Moskvin, who give us the scoop here on how the fast-rising Russian studio prepared the movie for the international stage.
Animation Magazine: Where did the story come from? Was it developed internally? Is it a story with roots in Russian traditions?
Vladimir Nikolaev: In terms of the movies, Wizart does not aim at depicting any national traditions whether they are Russian or not. To be successful on the international market, a story needs to be comprehensible for different kinds of audience. The idea for the Sheep and Wolves movie came when we were working on the first feature of The Snow Queen series. We were discussing possible concepts for the next project and the “a wolf in a sheep’s clothing” idea was hanging thick in the air. The conflict between wolves and sheep seemed a rather readymade idea, so we suggested it to our co-production partner, CTB Film Company CEO and producer Sergey Selyanov, who loved it and we started our work.
Animag: What about this story made it appealing for Wizart to do as an animated feature?
Yuri Moskvin: I guess the storyline was appealing to us because it could be potentially comprehensible for the global audience regardless of the mindset, cultural traditions, geographical location, gender or age. A wolf changes his appearance and gets into strange and comic situations. This kind of comedy-drama allowed us to use a lot of funny episodes that work well for the family audience. We felt it had the potential and as the release in var- ious countries showed, we succeeded in it.
Animag: Where was the animation for the movie done? How many animators worked on it? How long did it take?
Nikolaev: The studio is located in Voronezh, a city in Russia, but the locations of the team members crossed all the continents – Europe, Asia, North and Latin Americas. So, Sheep and Wolves is an international team project. The work on the movie took about five years. At first, there were only 20 people in the team but by the end of the project this number increased to 200 people.
Animag: What does it mean to Wizart (and more generally to Russian animation) to have this film chosen for the competition at Annecy?
Moskvin: That’s an honor for us to be on the official list of such a prestigious festival as the Annecy festival, moreover to be nominated for the Best Feature Film. It means the movie is marketable for the global animation community. It doesn’t matter whether we’ll receive the Annecy award, the fact that a Russian movie is included in the nomination list demonstrates that the quality of Russian animation is growing and it can easily compete with international projects. For more of this interview, visit www.animationmagazine.net.