Mediawan Kids & Family Unveils Feature Projects by Louis Clichy, Lino DiSalvo at Annecy (EXCLUSIVE)

Mediawan Kids & Family is unveiling a raft of prestige animated feature projects at the Annecy Film Festival, including “Meow-woof” by Louis Clichy (“Asterix: The Secret of the Magic Potion”) and “Twisted” by Lino DiSalvo (“Playmobil”).

Emmanuel Jacomet, who worked for over a decade alongside Aton Soumache and Dimitri Rassam on high profile IP’s such as “The Little Prince,” “Miraculous Ladybug” and “Playmobil,” took over the film division of Mediawan Kids & Family under a year ago with the ambition to develop a mix of mainstream franchise-based projects and auteur-driven 2D titles.

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The executive, who lived in Los Angeles for a number of years, said also he aims at bringing together European and American talent and sensibilities on projects that are personal, yet boast an international appeal. Many of the filmmakers in business with the banner have a dual culture. Clichy, for instance, is French but previously worked for Pixar on “Up” and “Wall-E” before directing “Asterix” movies; while DiSalvo spent 16 years at Disney, but understands the European culture due to his Italian heritage and made his directorial debut with “Playmobil.”

“For the last 12 years, I’ve seen how we’ve been able to have a significant role in the independent market and become one of the only players able to deliver upscale animated films for indie distributors, whether with big IP’s such as ‘The Little Prince,’ or ‘Miraculous,’ which have big budgets, or smaller arthouse films like ‘Mune,’ ‘Little Vampire’ and ‘Little Nicholas,'” said Jacomet.

Taking the lead of the film division shortly after the end of the pandemic, Jacomet said he and Julien Borde, Mediawan kids & family president, brainstormed about the banner’s movie strategy and quickly realized that there was still an “appetite for animation in theaters.”

“It’s especially true for animated franchise movies, as we saw with the wild box office for ‘Mario’ which sold 7 million tickets in France, or more recently ‘Kung Fu Panda 4,’ but for me the real joy was to see that original animated stories also performed well,” continued Jacomet, citing the success of “Migration” which sold nearly 1.8 million tickets in France, and “Mummies,” a Spanish film budgeted at $12 million which grossed $54 million worldwide.

The commercial achievement of a movie like ‘Mummies’ provided a ‘great model’ to emulate for Mediawan Kids & Family. He said all of the company’s project have a common denominator: “a strong and identified narrative frame and cultural grounding,” which Jacomet calls “IP adjacent.”

Next up, DiSalvo will direct “Twisted” a fantasy-filled coming-of-age taking place in Italy and following the adventures of a smooth-talking teenager teaming up with a truth-telling beast to save her hometown from an evil curse.The feature is being co-produced by Mediawan Kids & Family and Palomar Animation (a Mediawan company). It’s penned by Krissy Dugan and will be released in France by Le Pacte (“Anatomy of a Fall”).

Another project in development, “Meow-woof” will be directed by Clichy based on a script he’s co-writing with Christophe Turpin (“JCVD”). The comedic film will revolve around a search-and-rescue dog and a disenchanted tomcat who switch bodies. Mediawan Kids & Family is producing it with Benjamin Dupont-Jubien and Mehdi Sabbar at Big Band Story. Both “Meow-woof” and “Twisted” are in the financing stage.

Mediawan Kids & Family will also team with Alexandre Heboyan, whose feature debut “Mune” was critically acclaimed, on “Jonas, the mechanical shark,” based on a book by Bertrand Santini. The series will follow Jonas, who has given his name to the most successful “shark-movie” franchise of all time. Jonas cherishes his career and fame more than anything but when he learns he will be replaced for the next installment of the franchise, his whole world collapses. Thanks to an unlikely human friend, Jonas starts a journey across he frenetic streets of L.A., determined to claim his beloved role back.

The outfit is also producing “Smell !,” the high concept feature debut of Olivier Staphylas, whose credits as animation supervisors include “Puss in Boots” and head of character animation on “Penguins of Madagascar.” The film is being produced by Somewhere Animation (“Temtem”) with a creative team including Brandon Sawyer (“The Penguins of Madagascar”) and Michelle Staphylas (” Kung Fu Panda 3″). “Smell!” tells the story of Jules, who loses her father – and her sense of smell – in an accidental fire, and sees her life turned upside down. The family perfume shop is on the verge of bankruptcy, but Jules can’t let her father’s legacy disappear without a fight.

Mediawan Kids & Family is also developing “Spike,” an English language feature created by Julia Louw whose screenwriting credits include “Star Wars: Visions.” Submarine Animation, the Mediawan-owned banner behind Richard Linklater’s “Apollo 10½, is producing with Diprente.

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