Traversing rugged 2D terrain marked by the inky lines and earth tones of the page, a young Native American boy named ‘Anuki’ made his industry debut during a Cartoon Forum pitch session last week. In Toulouse.
Produced by Pierre Meloni and directed by Yulia Aronova and Eloïc Gimenez, the fast-paced short film development project marks the latest effort from venerable French studio Folimages – the animation house behind Oscar nominee ‘A Cat in Paris’ and last year Annecy winner “Vanilla”.
Now Folimages is back with a comic book adaptation that is, in many ways, like the scenes on the page brought to life. Fully embracing the graphic style of the creators of the source comics of creators Stéphane Senegas and Frédéric Maupomé – a successful five-volume series that quickly became a modern and ubiquitous reference across France – “Anuki” follows the adventures of a boy mischievous living in a mythical place and pre-modern natural landscape.
Like the source comic, the series will be dialogue-free, instead relying on exuberant activity and broad character designs. During the Cartoon Forum pitch, the show’s creators compared their project to the crazy cartoons of Wile E. Coyote and Chuck Jones’ Road Runner, explaining that the project would replace spoken dialogue with propulsive action and comedic gags.
Another key inspiration would be Mother Nature herself, as the project embraces seasonal changes and natural rhythms for a narrative set entirely outdoors, exploring a verdant 2D world filled with bison, beavers and bears – and of ponies and lice, thrown in for good measure.
“’Anuki’ draws on our childhood stories,” explains designer Stéphane Senegas. “We were so often alone, going out into the forest with our friends for afternoons of fun and fighting, scaring each other with snakes and boars.”
And similar to the source text, the series will also be driven by lead’s hot temper and short fuse. “It’s important that the character has flaws,” added Senegas, who liked Anuki’s temperamental nature to that of any (and every) child. “[The series is about] kids who think friends are a pain, but realize life is better with friends than without.