Franco-Chinese Partnership To Develop Animated Feature Based on Comic “La Balade de Yaya”

Fei Productions is developing the cinematic adaptation of La Balade de Yaya, a comic-strip series, made for youngsters, which has won the hearts of public and critics alike. The first four volumes ( of nine, expected, in total ) have already sold 40,000 copies in France. The rights to the comic-strip have been sold in Italy; and the series is already available digitally through l’App Store in Chinese and French.

This animated film will be mostly a Franco-Chinese co-production. The producers would like that Yaya be realised within the framework of the cinematic co-production agreements existing between France and China. However, partnerships with other countries remain, of course, open. The story of Yaya is a rite of passage both sensitive and poignant. If the context of the story is Chinese, the themes it deals with, such as friendship, sharing, initiation and discovery of the world, have a universal message, and give the film great commercial potential internationally.

Yaya the film – loyal to the universe of the BD — tells of the adventures of a little girl of ‘good family’, who, in 1937, because of the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, leaves in search of her parents with the help of a street kid. The authors of Yaya look also to world literature: the Dickens of Oliver Twist; Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun; René Clément’s Forbidden Games; as well as all the work of Miyazaki. They’re interested, primarily, at looking at the world through a child’s eyes — where their young heroes themselves look questioningly at the strange world of adults. The amount of feedback generated shows how willingly parents and children share their points of view on the adventures of Yaya. Even if this animated film ( 90 minutes, 2D/3D ) targets 8-12 year-olds, it reaches equally a family audience.

The authors of this adaptation will be the same as those of the series. Patrick Marty ( the original creator ), Jean-Marie Omont and Charlotte Girard, who are in charge of the script. Golo Zhao, the graphic artist of the BD, originally from the animation field, will adapt his own designs for the big screen. Patrick Marty will be in charge of the production, in collaboration with Xu Ge Fei ( Editor and Producer ).

Together, they’ve invited in Fabrice Beau, who has worked for over fifteen years in the animation sector, and who is in charge of the commercial development of Yaya.

MEET US! Fei Productions, starting from the experience of the recent Cartoon Movie and Kazachok Forum ( licence-market ) was able to launch the financing of this film. The company will present the project at 2nd Beijing International Film Festival, during the next Marché du Film at Cannes in May as well as Marché International du Film d’Animation ( MIFA ) in June. The project is already exciting great interest with numerous cinema professionals.