Buenos Aires-based FilmSharks Int’l has snapped up worldwide rights to Portugal’s first stop motion animated feature “My Grandfather’s Demons,” the debut animated pic by Nuno Beato.
According to FilmSharks CEO Guido Rud, it was able to outbid other contenders for the toon, which had its World premiere at Annecy.
“One of the hardest tasks for my acquisition team, run by Santiago Migdal, is to find a true animation gem, not only aesthetically but narratively where the use of different animation techniques makes the story fly even higher,” said Rud.
“It was a hard gem to get as many sales agents were chasing it, but we finally won this bid and we are so happy,” said Migdal.
Talks are well underway with Brazil, Benelux, China and the U.S., said Rud.
The well-reviewed hybrid toon features a mix of 2D, 3D and stop-motion animation, where the first two techniques are employed in the first part where we meet its lead character, Rosa, a high-flying designer in an ultra-modern office setting. The colors are cold, flat, clinical as she toils unhappily in her otherwise successful career.
News that her somewhat estranged grandfather has passed away makes her abruptly return to her family home in the countryside. There she enters a World populated by clay creatures – her grandfather’s demons – and wild animals as the film shifts to stop motion animation and rich, textured colors to give a sense of her return to her roots, to connecting with the earth.
She finds a hostile community who pass on their resentments about her grandfather. Anxious to show them she’s not like him, she uses her tech skills to solve the water scarcity issues that they blame on him.
According to Beato, the demon figurines are inspired by the traditional work of the late ceramic artist Rosa Ramalho. Called “caretos,” the clay figures are commonly used at winter solstice festivities that date back to northern Portugal’s Celtic past.
In his director’s statement, Beato explains: “With this film, I mean to create an identification with a way of life that so many times consumes us, makes us retreat from our most profound being and pushes us into automatic actions that distance us from the other.”
“Rosa’s search is directly connected with taking comfort from others’ embrace, to the need for friendship connections, to sharing and to mutual help. We all need others’ presence and the human bonds that grow beyond the pursuit of economic independence and the illusion that it creates for us,” he added.
Possidónio Cachapa (“Adeus à Brísa”) and Cristina Pinheiro (“Menina”) co-wrote the screenplay.
“My Grandfather’s Demons” is produced by Sardinha em Lata (Portugal), Caretos Film (Portugal), Midralgar (France) and Basque Film (Spain).
In its development stage, it won the La Liga Feature Project Award at Segovia’s 3D Wire – now renamed Weird Market – which included the benefit of pitching at Ventana Sur’s Animation! sidebar. It is also backed by a $100,000 grant from the Ibermedia fund, among several other funds.
Originally published at variety.com