"La Mort N'Existe Pas" "La Mort N'Existe Pas"

Miyu, the French production company behind some of the most lauded and striking animated shorts of recent years, is getting into feature films in a big way. The company has announced a slate of four new features, shortly after opening a new studio in Paris for 90 staff.

The films are an eclectic bunch, incorporating a range of techniques, addressing both families and adults, and representing an array of distinctive indie filmmakers. More information on each is presented below.

They join two previously announced features in the Miyu line-up: the Haruki Murakami adaptation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (in production) and Chicken for Linda (in development), which is co-directed by Sébastien Laudenbach (The Girl Without Hands). Read more on both in our report on last year’s Cartoon Movie forum.

Pangea by Simon Rouby

Synopsis: Following an earthquake that threatens her village, 14-year-old Chesa goes to get help from her grandmother, who lives alone at high altitude.

About the director: This cg family film is directed by Rouby, an artist and filmmaker whose wonderful debut feature Adama was nominated for a César and a European Film Award. He developed Pangea on the Kerguelen Islands in the Antarctic, as part of the French residency l’Atelier des Ailleurs.

Les Oiseaux de Porcelaine (Porcelain Birds) by Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter
"Porcelain Birds"

Synopsis: In 1998, Kayo, a Japanese foreign exchange student, comes to California as part of a new international program funded by an American billionaire, Henry Hughes. She spends her nights secretly exploring Hughes’ magical ranch with a Japanese-speaking ostrich. When disturbing allegations against Henry Hughes come to light, Kayo’s innocence is tested as she tries to find her place in an unfamiliar social structure and discovers the dark side of the American dream.

About the directors: Known collectively as Tiny Inventions, wife-and-husband team Kuwahata and Porter (who are Japanese and American respectively) have directed a number of shorts ranging across cgi, 2d, stop motion, and photography. Their most famous work, Negative Space, picked up 128 prizes and an Oscar nomination. Porcelain Birds, their first feature, will be principally stop motion, and aimed at young adults and upward.

Planètes (Planets — working title) by Momoko Seto

Synopsis: A series of nuclear explosions has wrecked the planet, destroying all life except for four dandelion seeds. They embark on a long journey in search of a terrain hospitable to their species. Along the way, they run into various dangers, but also have happier encounters.

About the director: Born in Japan, Seto studied fine arts in France and the U.S. She has won acclaim — and awards from the likes of the Berlinale — as an experimental artist and filmmaker, with a practice that incorporates vr, holograms, animation, and video mapping. For some years, she’s been working on a series of films about imaginary planets that are based on photographic images of micro-organisms, plants, etc. Planètes will mix 3d and live action, and be suitable for families.

Co-producer: Ecce Films

La Mort N’Existe Pas (Death Doesn’t Exist) by Félix Dufour-Laperrière
"La Mort N'Existe Pas"

Synopsis: Hélène abandons her companions during an armed attack that goes wrong. She flees into the woods, where she meets Catherine, a mysterious, alluring, wolfish alter ego. This doppelganger takes Hélène to a fantastical valley, where things are quickly shaken up by mutations, poisonous forces, and major upheaval. This leads Hélène to reflect on her choices and the moral, political, and human dilemmas that define them.

About the director: Following the recent festival success of his poetic feature Ville Neuve, the Montreal-based Dufour-Laperrière returns with another adult-oriented 2d feature. In the meantime, his animated documentary Archipel, set around the Saint Lawrence River in Canada and the U.S., is due to be released this year.

Co-producers: Embuscade Films, Doghouse Films