After two years of mostly online festivals, Annecy was back with the most crowded lineup of projects we’ve ever seen.
Here, we take a closer look at three, well technically four, European projects that caught our eye from the crowded field.
OZI: VOICE OF THE FOREST
The closest to being finished, Ozi will be in theaters later this year. Tim Harper helms the independently financed feature which follows the adventures of a young “influencer” orangutan named Ozi as she recruits her friends for a journey across an environmentally-devastated rainforest in search of her primate parents. Supported by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and Oscar-winning producer Mike Medavoy, the film aims to raise awareness around issues facing the world’s rainforests as they face growing levels of deforestation, and how the problem directly affects the ecosystems within them.
GCI Films produces, with Mikros Animation handling creative development from concept-to-delivery for the fully cgi feature. The film’s voice cast includes Amandla Stenberg as Ozi, Laura Dern, RuPaul, Donald Sutherland, and Djimon Hounsou.
The film’s Annecy presentation was led by executive producer/writer Rodrigo Blaas (Trollhunters, Alma) and Harper, with head of story/head of character animation/writer Sean Mullen, production designer/art director Stephane Daegelen, line producer Nathalie Masseret, compositing supervisor Anne-Sophie Palermo, and cg supervisor/vfx supervisor Manuel Souillac.
Featured during a sold-out Annecy work-in-progress session, The Inventor is the latest project from Disney and Pixar veteran Jim Capobianco (who shared an Oscar nomination for Ratatouille’s screenplay) and Pierre-Luc Granjon(Poppety in the Fall, The White Wolf). Using puppets that spark an instant nostalgia for classic Rankin/Bass holiday stop-motion fare, the feature visits time spent by Leonardo da Vinci as part of the French court in the years following his departure from Italy. In France, the inventor finds greater freedom to experiment on his timeless inventions and the company of the audacious princess Marguerite.
The film’s voice cast includes Stephen Fry, Daisy Ridley, Marion Cotillard, and Matt Berry. Curiosity Studio and Foliascope produce, with MK2 handling sales internationally and KMBO distributing in France. They are currently looking for distributors and broadcasters abroad.
Ok, so maybe it’s cheating to pick a studio but we’ve combined two series pitched by Passion Pictures as one project for the sake of this article.
Greeting From the Apocalypse
The first, Greetings from the Apocalypse, is an eight-episode adventure series set in a dystopian wasteland where a fugitive freedom fighter partners with an outcast bounty hunter to avoid capture by a group of violent bandits. The series is cg, albeit with a graphic 2d aesthetic, and it’s targeted at YA and adult audiences. Wild Love directors Maryka Laudet and Quentin Camus re-team to helm the series, written by Summer Plair and produced in association with Entertainment 360.
Anna Mantzaris (But Milk is Important, Good Intentions) directs this three-part puppet series which features several narratives that unspool in the same city. Characters explore their desires while seeking out often unconventional relationships and partners with shared sexual kinks in an examination of what it means to love and be loved in the modern world. The show is a U.K.-Sweden co-production, and currently seeking broadcasters, distributors, producers/co-producers, scriptwriters.
Pictured Above: “Ozi,” “The Inventor,” “Greetings From The Apocalypse”