Feature Film

Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist Debuts in February

The Illusionist

The Illusionist, the long-awaited follow-up feature from Sylvain Chomet (The Triplets of Belleville), will debut next month at the Berlin International Film Festival. This article from Scotland’s The Herald confirms that the hand-drawn film is Scotland’s most expensive film production ever, with a budget “significantly north of £10 million.” In US dollars, that works out to a modest $16 million, which would be considered a bargain by most studios. According to the article, the film was made primarily in Edinburgh at ­Chomet’s Django Films, with further work done by ink.digital in Dundee, Scotland and another studio in Paris. Personally, I’ve heard that to get the film done, they farmed out large parts to service studios, including around forty minutes of assistant animation and clean-up to Sunwoo in South Korea.

To take advantage of Scottish film incentives, Chomet transposed the film’s action from Paris to Edinburgh and the Western Isles, which according to one person interviewed by The Herald, isn’t necessarily a bad thing:

Film-maker and critic Mark ­Cousins, who helped Chomet set up his Edinburgh studio, has seen several extracts of the film. “We should be very excited about The Illusionist,” he said. “Even though it wasn’t originally set in Scotland, the end result really is quite Scottish. It has a real feel of the marmalade and bracken colour of Mull in the autumn. The screenplay was one of the best that I’ve seen. This could be a ­classic of Scottish cinema.”

(Thanks, Martin Gornall and Florian Satzinger)