Amopix, a ‘Mars Express’ Studio-Producer, To Launch Amopix Annecy
At Annecy with four features, including buzzy main competition entry “Mars Express,” Strasbourg-based Amopix will create a second studio, Amopix Annecy, located in the Route des Creuses to the west of Annecy.
The move comes as Amopix, the animation studio behind Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight title “Margarethe 89,” produced by Eddy, is embarking on some 10 new titles, either as an animation studio or producer or both, including Louis Clichy’s “Le Corset” and “Shalotte, an Onion for All Cases,” a TV series produced in international co-production, a potential growth axis, Amopix founder Mathieu Rolin told Variety.
Reasons for setting up in Annecy cut several ways: the location, which is highly attractive thanks to its exceptional geographical position and the presence in Annecy of the world’s biggest animation festival.
Public sector policies, implemented by Citia, behind the Annecy Intl. Film Animation Festival, are backing the development of a local animation sector with dedicated incentives. Based out of Annecy and Strasbourg, Amopix can aim to tap funding in both Strasbourg and Annecy city and/or the region of Haute-Savoie.
“It seems logical to have two regions working together and have the same studio in those two regions helping producers by finding technical solutions and financial possibilities, using those two funding sources and the talent we have: in Strasbourg we already have very gifted and talented illustrators,” said Rolin.
Also, “Our focus as a studio is on backgrounds, 2D animation and compositing,” Rolin said. “We now want to expand from this base, he added, noting that Amopix has established close ties with Annecy’s Inthebox, a 3D specialist which was in charge of 350 shots for Foliascope Annecy competition entry “The Inventor,” split between 3D VFX, clean, rotoscope tracking and compositing.
From Clichy, co-director of “Asterix: the Domain of the Gods” and “Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion,” “Le Corset,” turns on a father-son relationship, knit by a tragic-comic touch, as Christophe, an 11-year-old farm boy, who is neglected by his father, mysteriously starts leaning to the side, to the point of falling. Eddy produces in France. Amopix provides services.
The idea is for “Le Corset” to be the first film set up at Amopix Annecy, said Rolin.
A 26-part series, every one lasting seven minutes, “Shalotte, an Onion for All Cases” is also seen as an early Annecy studio project. A detective adventure series for kids with one mystery per episode, it is produced by Germany’s Trickstudio Lutterbeck, Amopix and Maur Film in the Czech Republic. Funded by the E.U. Media Program and various regional funds, it has recently been greenlit by German public broadcaster WDR.
Looking for international sales and new broadcasters to board, the producers are now testing an hybrid pipeline mixing the best of 2D and 3D techniques in order to create a fresh and funny crime comedy for kids age 5-8 for a first season, Rolin said.
On Jéremie Perin’s “Mars Express,” an animé tinged, noir sci-fi thriller and “a very big step forward for us,” said Rolin, Amopix co-produced and as a studio supplied the compositing. Produced by Everybody on Deck and sold by MK2 Films, “Mars Express” is one of the highest-profile titles in Annecy’s main competition.
Amopix co-produced and worked as a studio on both Sepideh Farsi’s Berlin Panorama opening film, the 1980 Abadan-set “The Siren,” which is backed by Les Films d’Ici, Lunanime, Special Touch Studios, Rêves d’Eau, Katuh Studio, Bac Cinema and Trick Studio, as well as Annecy WIP title “Into the Wonderwoods,” directed by Winsshluss and Alexia Ducord, and also produced by JSBC, Gao Shan Pictures and Zenit Productions.
On Brazilian Rogério Nunes’ “Heart of Darkness,” Amopix works as a studio. An Annecy WIP, it recasts Conrad’s classic on the outskirts of a near-future Rio de Janeiro. Special Touch Studios, Split Studios and Kermatique Imagens produce.
In all, Amopix is working on some 10 projects, four features, three TV series – one in production, and two in development – and three shorts.
“How do I see Amopix in two years? We are willing to develop more in international in order to be involved in high quality co-productions as an entry door to provide services for productions looking for high end quality which can also tap France’s tax rebate,” said Rolin, in reference to the country’s federal Tax Rebate for International Productions (TRIP).
“We want to keep it very human. The DNA of this studio is to have very talented people who are very close, working in small teams. We still want to be artisanal, not a major industry force handling very big 3D pipelines,” said Rolin.
“But six months ago, I would have told you that we would certainly not co-produce TV shows on a European scale. So it’s always full of surprises.
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