This article is available in: French
Earlier this month, the Festival National du Film d’Animation took place in Rennes, France. This animation festival includes screenings, roundtables, conferences as well as pitching sessions.
During the pitching sessions, 16 upcoming animated shorts and series were showcased, some at the concept stage, some at the development stage. Here is our selection!
Kush mir in tochez: the intimacy of a hairdresser salon
Mor Israeli pitched Kush mir in tochez (which can be translated to “Kiss my ass”), a short film currently at the development stage.
A hairdresser salon for very old women, located in the appartment of Rachel (41), the hairdresser. The same customers have been coming for years. Each old lady has a dedicated day/time and they are waiting patiently next to one another. These women, very old but elegant, share anecdotes from the last few days as they wait for their turn. A moment of intimacy in this enclosed and very special place.
The short film is aimed at an adult audience, and is inspired by Mor Israeli’s background. Her grandmother used to say to her “Kush mir in tochez” with a big smile, which made her laugh. She was an elegant woman, and she would go to a hairdresser similar to the one featured in the short film, every week. She was eager to go back, and each time over there was something akin to a secret club, or a ceremony. An old place where women from various backgrounds (Isreal, Morocco, Romania, etc) would meet and chat.
An intimate place, a cozy atmosphere, a beautiful place: Mor Israeli explains that this place was everything that defined her grandmother, “a strong woman who dared to live”.
What Comes at Night: insomnia and Covid-19
Directed by Gaia Alari and produced by La Cellule Productions, What Comes at Night is an upcoming short film, inspired by Gaia Alari’s own experience during the Covid-19 pandemic. Il will be created using traditional 2D animation.
A woman in her thirties struggles with insomnia. As the night progresses, bringing with it its share of anxiety and helplessness, she loses any spatio-temporal reference. A buried memory resurfaces.
The project was born in 2020, as Gaia Alari was living in Bergamo, Italia, the epicenter of the epidemic in Italy. Confined in her home, Gaia Alari was confronted to the loss of several people close to her heart, and mourning became part of her life.
What Comes at Night clearly is a deeply introspective project. Gaia Alari showed us several striking concepts with a bold visual style, black and white drawings and colorfful fishes.
Le Club de la savane: when Martinique revolts
Bénédicte Bonheur spent her childhood in mainland France. Her mother, who grew up in Martinique (an island that is part of the French West Indies), would tell her about her own childhood memories from the 60s. Music, stories, funeral wakes… Bénédicte Bonheur later realized how important these memories were: her mother also witnessed historical events, rebellions against the French state.
She now wants to create an animated series (10×26′) that would be inspired by these memories.
The series targets children 8 and up, and would focus on four children: Lumina (9 years old) and her friends, the mischievous Lubin, the shy Rohan, and Madeleine, who moved to Martinique with her father, a doctor, and who struggles to be accepted by the other children at school.
Childhood mischiefs, jazz music… But also History: the children will witness a fight on the Place de la Savane, in Fort-de-France. This event will trigger a large scane revolt. The French Martinican will ask for more equity.
The children will therefore become aware of the social issues on the island, and will question themselves about their place in society, their identity.
Le Club de la Savane will therefore focus on historical events, but also on the daily lives of children. This serialized series is in part inspired by The Long Long Holiday. The voice of Lumina, now an adult storyteller, will guide us through this journey.
The series is still at the concept stage, and Bénédicte Bonheur is looking for partners (producers, artists). She also explained that when working on the characters, she was inspired by the art of Barbara Brun, Guillaume Lorin.
Liudi: the cellist and the whale
Let’s continue this overview with Liudi, by Louise Revoyre. A short film project still at the concept stage.
This is the story of a whale and a cellist. We are in the 19th century, far to the east, far, far away, in a sea with an unpronounceable name: the sea of Okhotsk. Westerners come to fish there, efficiently, systematically. WHALE does not escape the harpoon. On the other side of the world, at the same time, in Paris, a very young woman is preparing for her first concert. LISA is 17 years old, she plays the cello. Here is the story of their meeting, of their journey together and of shared sounds, a story that is inspired by a lived story, but also by a relationship to the living to be questioned, to be reinvented.
Liudi is the fictional meeting of two very real women. Lisa Cristiani (1827-1853), the first woman to ever become a professional cellist (at the time, the cello was still considered an inappropriate instrument for women). She traveled to the borders of Russia, in the Kamchaka region. Nastassja Martin, on the other hand, is an anthropologist born in 1986 who has written extensively on this same region, and is famous for a story inspired by a bear attack she experienced.
Louise Revoyre explains that Liudi will include feminist and ecological themes. She will use 2D animation, and showed us several concept arts such as the one below (the visual style might change during development).
En attendant: a new species
Elice Meng and Alexis Requintel pitched En Attendant, an upcoming series currently under development (30×4′, young adult/adult target audience).
The concept: a documentary series on Plumus, strange creatures made of feathers, a missing link between humans and other animals or plants. The Plumus live, contemplate, desire, love, play… In short, they are a poetic mirror image of humankind. The series will address social issues and philosophical subjects in a minimalist style: little or no backgrounds, standalone episodes. One of the challenges faced by the team: finding the best way to animate feathers in order to convey emotions.
Festival National du Film d’Animation: the pitching sessions, a must-see!
Our selection should give you a good idea of the kind of projects pitched at FNFA 2023. Eclectic themes, strong and often very personnal stories, humor, history, memories, introspection…
The official website features all the projects pitched this year (projects at the concept stage, as well as at the development stage) , in French. These projects include frogs facing climate change and urban development in Freshstyle by Lucie Pradeau and Camille Hummel, dinosaurs, sci-fi and music from South Africa with Zootosaure by Robin Pineau and Gabriel Lefèvre, the daily life of a French high school with Pion.ne.s by Marie Pierre Hauwelle and Gildas Rigo (XBO Films).
It should be highlighted that the conference room was packed most of the time, and that there was a very good feedback from the audience, including artistic advice, financing tips, suggestions. These pitching sessions definitely were a highlight of the festival. Last, but not least, partners of the event (Ciclic, Cartoon, Titrafilm, L’Agraf) awarded various prizes, including financial help and mentoring.