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PRODUCTION / FUNDING France / Luxembourg

Tales of the Hedgehog in pre-production

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- Delivery of the French-Luxembourgish project by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol is slated for early 2023

Tales of the Hedgehog in pre-production

After having worked together on A Cat in Paris [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and Phantom Boy [+see also:
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film profile
]
, filmmakers Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol are continuing their exploration of a cinematic genre that is particularly dear to them: the crime film and, more specifically, the heist film. Tales of the Hedgehog, which has been selected for the upcoming Cartoon Movie (see the news), will follow ten-year-old Nina, whose life has been turned upside down ever since her father lost his job at a factory, after his supervisor embezzled money. Together with her friend Mehdi, the little girl sets off on a life-saving quest that may well lead to the discovery of a treasure hidden in the disused factory… It will therefore be a genre film, tailored for young audiences, which will revel in reusing the codes of Hollywoodian film noir – Raoul Walsh- and John Huston-style.

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Alain Gagnol promises a coming-of-age story where the adults, far from being glorified, will be depicted through the lens of all their doubts and weaknesses. “The story recounts how, through sheer willpower and ingenuity, two children accomplish more than the adults, who are caught up in the worries of everyday life. The children are still young enough to be naive. That drives them to take reckless risks and to attempt the impossible.” Certainly no sucker, little Nina fully understands the professional and social injustice that has befallen her unemployed father. She will fight for him, whatever the cost.

And what about the titular hedgehog? Well, he’s the hero of the stories that Nina’s dad tells her. This imaginary friend who accompanies her everywhere in her thoughts will also pop up in the story in a more direct way. For the directors, “The juxtaposition of the real hedgehog and his imaginary doppelganger in the same story reflects the way in which the little girl’s imagination transforms her daily life. The hedgehog from the stories, the one that accompanies and talks to her, pops up whenever she needs him, whenever reality becomes so harsh that a little stroll around her childish side gives her a brief respite.”

In 2019, at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Luxembourg’s Pierre Urbain and David Mouraire (of Doghouse Films) got involved in the production of this original project being staged by French producer Jérôme Duc-Maugé (of Parmi Les Lucioles Films). The provisional budget stands at €6 million, 71% of which is funded by France via the CNC’s advance on receipts, the minimum guarantees of the national distributor (KMBO) and international distributor (Les Films du Losange), Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Cinéma and the Provence-Alpes-Côtes-d’Azur region. They are joined by Canal+, Ciné+ and the Procirep-Angoa. On the Luxembourgish side, the Film Fund Luxembourg has announced an investment to the tune of €1.44 million. Luxembourg will be where the colour set design (or part of it), the animation, the colourisation of the characters and the sound mixing will be carried out. Interestingly, Creative Europe (MEDIA programme) has granted it €60,000 in development support, and the project is awaiting a response from Eurimages (expected for March 2021).

Recently, Doghouse Films co-produced Pachamama [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, a film aimed at young audiences and questioning our relationship with nature, as well as Fritzi: A Revolutionary Tale [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which portrays the trials and tribulations of a young girl from East Germany during the fall of the Berlin Wall. David Mouraire reiterates: “Our passion is co-producing films that hinge on a true auteur-like vision and have a strong graphic identity, which enable our vision of the world and of society to evolve. Tales of the Hedgehog is very much in this tradition of works that are very strong from the point of view of both the style and the content. In other words, they’re films that we deem to be useful.”

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(Translated from French)

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