Daily Variety reports that Eurimages has earmarked $4.7 million to help fund nine international co-productions, including the animated features Azur et Asmar from Michel Ocelot, La Reine Soleil from Philippe Leclerc and Nocturna by Victor Maldonado and Adrian Garcia. The toons each stand to receive as much as $780,000.
Azur et Asmar, the latest feature from French director Ocelot (Kirikou and the Witch), employs African-style art to tell the story of two boysone Muslim and one Christianwhose friendship is threatened by cultural and socio-economic differences. The bilingual fable will be told with a combination of French and Arabic and is slated for release in 2005.
Based on a book by Christian Jacq, Leclercs youth adventure flick, La Reine Soleil (The Queen Sun) revolves around ancient Egyptian rulers Tut-Anch-Amun and Nofretete. Leclercs first feature, Les Enfants de la Pluie (Children of the Rain), premiered at the Annecy Intl Festival of Animation in 2003.
Nocturna combines 2D and 3D techniques to tell the story of Tim, an orphan who sees a star fall from the sky and is instantly transported into a world of dreams, darkness and the mysteries of the night. A collaboration between Filmax Animation of Spain and Animakids of France, the predominantly Spanish production was Initially budgeted at around $12 million. Red Kite Films, a division of award-winning, Scottish animation production company Red Kite, plans to release the film during the 2006 holiday season, marking the companys first foray into theatrical-release animated features.