Among the many movies that are grabbing the spotlight at the Annecy Online festival this week is director Benoît Chieux’s (Aunt Hilda!) upcoming 2D feature Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds. The colorful, imaginative feature is penned by Oscar-nominated Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris, Phantom Boy) and produced by Ron Dyens of Sacrebleu Productions. During a Work in Progress presentation, the filmmakers introduced their movie and main characters, and shared images and a trailer (which you can watch at the end of this article) for their much-anticipated family feature.
Sirocco’s story centers on the adventures of two sisters, Juliette and Carmen, who discover a passage to the universe of their favorite book, The Kingdom of the Winds. “The first step for me was to draw the pictures which I was inspired by and wanted to animate,” says Chieux. “The flying crocodiles, organic houses and weird clouds — a colorful world which had few characters with human forms. Then our screenwriter Alain Gagnol wrote the movie inspired by those images. The story is basically based on two female duos: Two young sisters, Juliette and Carmen, who meet two older sisters, Agnes and Selma. The personality of one duo is reflected in the other one, just like a mirror game with facets.”
According to the director, the film has a very surreal and colorful visual style. Animation fans can definitely see the influence of Hayao Miyazaki and other anime favorites in both the subject matter and the loose, curvy designs. “The graphic style conveys a colorful and positive imaginary world,” says Chieux. “The wind was a big inspiration from the very beginning. I always thought it would be a perfect subject for animation: The wind is movement: It slams the door, caresses our skin and triggers storms. It is this fluid force with all these different aspects that we have to animate and bring to life. The wind is invisible, which presents one of the great cinematic challenges: How do we portray what we can’t see? I was very interested in that question. The wind is also the kiss of life; what allows Selma to sing and Agnes to write stories. The wind allowed us to create very original and dramatic conflicts and situations between the real world of Carmen and Juliette and the imaginary one of Agnes and Selma.”
Producer Ron Dyens (Marona’s Fantastic Tale, Friend of a Friend) mentioned that the score is being written by Pablo Pico (Marona’s Fantastic Tale). The 75-minute film, which has a budget of about 6 million euros ($6.8 million), will begin production next year and is slated for a 2022 release date. The producer mentioned that the film will be a perfect combination of a mainstream movie and an arthouse title. A tie-in book project and a possible TV series are also part of the plans for this charming title.
For more info, visit sacrebleuprod.com.