A funny thing has happened: as hand-drawn studio-produced animated features have all but disappeared from the American animation scene, European and Asian studios are enjoying a mini-renaissance of drawn feature films. The latest example is Ernest et Célestine, adapted from a French children’s book series about the unlikely friendship between a gruff bear with artistic ambitions and an intelligent mouse who doesn’t want to become a dentist. The clip above gives a taste of the film’s breezy visual style that mixes broken-line characters with watercolor-style backgrounds–animated in Flash no less.

Directors are Benjamin Renner, Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, the latter two of whom directed the recent stop-motion feature A Town Called Panic. The 80-minute feature is a co-production between France (Les Armateurs, Maybe Movies, Studiocanal France), Belgium (La Parti) and Luxembourg (Mélusine Productions). Ernest et Célestine will have its world premiere this week at the Directors’ Fortnight, which takes place alongside the Cannes Film Festival.

Another extended film clip as well as a video showing the paperless production pipeline can be viewed after the jump. It’s all in French, but don’t let that stop you from taking a peek.

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