Joann Sfar will adapt his Eisner Award-winning graphic novel The Rabbi’s Cat as a 2D animated feature. According to Daily Variety, Sfar will co-direct the film with Antoine Delesvaux. This is the first project for Autochenille, a Paris-based company they founded with comic-book artist Clement Oubrerie. TF1 Intl. will co-produce with public broadcaster France 3, and has also acquired international and home video rights. The pic has pre-sold in France to France 3, Canal Plus and Cinecinema.
Set in Algeria in the 1930s, the graphic novel revolves around a cat that eats the family parrot and develops the ability to speak. The cat then decides he wants to become Jewish to impress the rabbi’s beautiful daughter. The daughter falls in love with a young rabbi from Paris, and the cat and rabbi must journey with the newlyweds to France to meet the in-laws. Slated to open in France in 2010, the $17.5 million animated movie will feature the voices of Hafsia Herzi (The Secret of the Grain) and Francois Morel (Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure).
Autochenill is dedicated to making author-driven films that appeal to children and adults alike. Also in development is Aya de Yopougon, an adaptation of Marguerite Abouet’s book of the same name. Oubrerie, who illustrated the book, will direct the film. Sfar is also attached to direct Gainsbourg, vie heroique, a live-action biopic on French singer Serge Gainsbourg.