"Little Vampire" "Little Vampire"

After six years of production, Little Vampire is almost ready for the screen. The 2d family comedy, which played in competition at Annecy Festival, will be released in French theaters on October 21. In the meantime, the first trailer and posters have dropped.

The feature is directed by Joann Sfar, a comics artist and film director with a broad following in France and beyond. It is based on Sfar’s eponymous comics series (which is based in turn on an imaginary friend the artist concocted in his childhood). The books have been released in translation; one, Little Vampire Goes to School, became a New York Times bestseller.

Watch the trailer (in French) and read a portion of the official synopsis below:

Little Vampire lives in a haunted house with a jolly band of monsters, but he’s terribly bored. He’s been ten years old for 300 years now, and it’s been a while since he enjoyed pirate ships and the film club. His dream? To go to school and make some friends. But his parents are having none of it: the outside world is far too dangerous. Accompanied by his loyal bulldog Fantomate, Little Vampire secretly escapes from the mansion, determined to meet other children…

Sfar’s debut feature was Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life, a live-action biopic of the titular French singer. He followed it up with The Rabbi’s Cat, an Annecy-winning animated feature based on his comics of the same name which he co-directed with Antoine Delesvaux. He also directed a segment of the animated anthology feature The Prophet.

The director described the genesis of the Little Vampire film in a recent interview with Animation Magazine:

A tv show [based on the comics] was made 15 years ago, which was quite funny and creepy, but it didn’t have great animation. So, about ten years ago, we started to talk about making a cg-animated movie based on the books. An American studio and Guillermo del Toro were also involved … But we weren’t able to raise enough money to make a cg movie on the level of a Pixar or Dreamworks feature. You know, I hate it when European studios do cheap cgi movies. I don’t hate cg, but you need to do it well. So, we decided to make it in 2d.

He went on to say:

I can tell you that we had a lot less money than we did with [The] Rabbi’s Cat (12.5 million euros), but we had more time to make it. Our movie is a love letter to classic animated movies. In the eyes of a child, there is no hierarchy between 2d and cgi.

In June, Sfar launched the studio Magical Society with veteran French animation producer Aton Soumache (Playmobil: The Movie). It has around a dozen animated, live-action, and hybrid projects in development, including a hybrid mini-series based on treasured family book The Little Prince.

Magical Society is a co-producer on this film, alongside Studio Canal, La Cie Cinematographique & Panache Productions, France 3 Cinéma, Story, and RTBF. No U.S. distributor has been announced.

"Little Vampire" "Little Vampire"

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.