Kara wins the Eurimages Award at Cartoon Movie
by Claire La Combe
- The German-Belgian stop-motion project by Sinem Sakaoğlu won the Eurimages Co-production Development Prize on Friday
Kara, the second stop-motion feature film by Sinem Sakaoglu following The Sandman and the Lost Sand of Dreams [+see also:
film profile], was inspired by the Turkish director's own life. Aimed at a wider audience, rather than just young adults, the film follows the experiences of a girl, Kara, during a summer in Istanbul while she deals with loss of her grandmother. The film is universal, focusing on themes such as self-identity and sits somewhere between a drama and fantasy comedy. The film received the Eurimages Co-production Development Prize at Cartoon Movie.
Produced by the German company Visual Distractions (Julian Hermannsen, Sinem Sakaoğlu), and co-produced by Belgian stop-motion specialists Beast Animation (Annemie Degryse), Kara has a budget of €13 million, one of the largest budgets of the various projects in development pitched at Cartoon this year.
After an initial pilot and the shooting of three minutes of animation, the producers have a year to finance the film. "We are still in the process of getting cost estimates and trying to determine the distribution between manufacturing studios, because it's a big budget. This is very important because we need the best distribution to steer the project in the right direction," said Annemie Degryse. Beast Animation committed to the project following the initial phase of development. At this point in time, the script has been completed and translated into four languages (French, English, Turkish, German) and the team is planning to use the non-refundable financing from the Eurimages prize to start work on the storyboard and animation. "We really want to have everything in place before starting production, we’re satisfied with the script, so it’s now just a case of us to moving forward on the visual side of things, that's what the €20,000 prize money will be used for," explained Julian Hermannsen. "In terms of animation, the screenplay says less about the film than the animation. It’s a crucial step which we can now start funding," stated the Belgian producer.
In terms of animated feature films, this is the first time that Eurimages has awarded its co-production development prize to a project at Cartoon Movie. The jury composed of Karin Schockweiler (Film Fund Luxembourg) Felix Vanginderhuysen (JEF, Belgium) and Sara Wikler (StudioCanal, France) auditioned 12 projects in development. "We were touched by the sensitivity of Kara, with its high-value stop-motion animation. The jury wants to encourage ambitious independent projects, young talented women and all the seasoned producers who accompany them with inspiration," said Karin Schockweiler at the awards luncheon. "We want to encourage all Cartoon participants to ask for help from Eurimages, you might not necessarily get it, but keep asking, because we are doing everything we can to put animation in the spotlight at the institution."
If all goes well for the team working on Kara, production will last 28 months, with the film scheduled for release in late 2021. Producers are looking for a third stop-motion specialist partner, as well as local distributors to complete the financing and manufacturing schedule. Cartoon has been a milestone for the team and for Annemie Degryse, but they are still proceeding with caution: "We must be cautious at this stage because if we are in discussions with an international seller, we are also dependent on regions with which we will co-produce. You have to do it in order." Still in shock following the announcement, Sinem Sakaoğlu pondered the financial and production issues relating to her film: "This is the puzzle we are working on right now. Don't ask me who’s going to work on animation, I've only just got the money! It's a good time to start thinking of some names."
(Translated from French)
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