Prima Linea Productions, one of the most well-established animation producers in France, has closed. The company was liquidated on February 7, according to trade publication Le Film français.
Founded in 1995 by Valérie Schermann and Christophe Jankovic, Prima Linea was known for its short and feature films. Its catalogue includes Zarafa, Fear(s) of the Dark, and last year’s The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, which has earned it a nomination for European Producer of the Year at next week’s Cartoon Movie forum. It also handled the animation on The Red Turtle, a project led by Studio Ghibli and Wild Bunch.
The Bears, the feature directorial debut of renowned illustrator Lorenzo Mattotti, is said to be the cause of Prima Linea’s demise. Le Film français puts the film’s budget at €11 ($12.1) million — a considerable sum for an artistically inclined animated feature in Europe. On its release in October, it underperformed, effectively bankrupting the company. A U.S. distributor for the film has not been announced at this time.