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Feature Film

First Look at Ari Folman’s Anne Frank Feature

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Ari Folman with Anne Frank doll.

The first images of an animated retelling of the story of Anne Frank, by Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir, The Congress), have been revealed.

The images, posted by Hebrew-language website Cinemascope, offer a glimpse behind the scenes and the contrasting stylistic approaches of two separate concept tests for the film, including a combination of stop-motion and 2D animation.

Images from an early concept test (which Cinemascope reports ran to three-and-a-half minutes in length) feature hand-drawn 2D characters—character design and animation direction by Waltz with Bashir’s David Polonsky and Yoni Goodman, respectively—superimposed on miniature sets.

Among the scenes pictured: the occupants of the secret annex listen to the radio, Anne wanders among oversized radio tubes (actually a 10-foot set), and Anne imagines the war as a bizarre carnival of color.

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The second set of images are behind-the-scenes shots of work in progress on a shorter, more recent and purely stop-motion screen test at Passion Pictures in London. Folman is collaborating with Fantastic Mr. Fox director of photography Tristan Oliver and puppet designer Andy Gent (pictured in one of the below images) to bring Polonsky’s 2D character designs to stop-motion life.

As well as a puppet of Anne Frank herself, Cinemascope reports that Kitty, the imaginary friend to whom Anne addressed her diary entries, is represented—appearing as a young girl in modern dress, toting what may be The Diary of a Young Girl. According to Cinemascope, Folman’s script explores the story of Anne Frank through the eyes of Kitty, a visitor to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.

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Quoting Folman in November, Den of Geek reported that the film had been conceived as a mixture of stop-motion and animated 2D characters, but that the production was shifting to London to “change it to full stop-motion.”

With Folman still working on securing funding for the project, the Cinemascope article implies that there is some concern on Folman’s part about the higher cost of an all-stop-motion film.

  • Gray Stanback

    Nice. Get it released in 3000+ multiplexes across the US, and then we’ll talk.

    • Dusty Ayres

      That’s as likely to happen as any of us winning the state/provincial lottery.

  • assistdir

    Isn’t the actual story compelling enough without adding the inaccuracies of fantasy? Is the need to appear artistically original so overwhelming that merely dramatizing the factual story as it happened becomes insufficient?

  • ea

    Maybe now the Academy will finally recognize a non-children’s animated feature.

    • David

      I agree, Triplets of Bellville, Persepolis and Chico & Rita are the only ones that have been nominated in the category. Run of the mill studio fare mostly get all of the attention. Waltz With Bashir got nominated for best foreign film, which it deserved BUT also deserved the animation slot and even documentary, but in the latter the academy doesn’t have any grasp or imagination to have given it to the same film that was amazing and truly deserved it.

      • Karina

        I may say that Studio Ghibli’s “The tale of princess Kayuga” isn’t exactly aimed for children, either.

  • Wouldn’t be the first time someone tackled Anne Frank’s story in animation either, I’ll give these guys credit for the mix-media approach in this film.

    • Mark Brackney

      What was the first one, may I ask?

  • David

    I hope they keep the various styles, Folman is an expert in handling more than one style in his films.

  • Mark Brackney

    Stunning. And, also, probably depressing, too. However, if these Stills indicate what the overall film will be Like, than this will be the most Unprecedented version of little Frank’s story, yet.
    But, then again, probably Sad as all Hell, too.

  • Nicky

    This is going to be fantastic!

  • Websearcher

    Ready to cry already. Beautiful work.