Sunday, March 6, 2016

French directors invade the New York International Children's Film Festival as Simon Rouby and Alain Gagnol & Jean-Loup Felicioli come to talk about their films ADAMA and PHANTOM BOY

The second weekend of NYICFF ended with the directors of  ADAMA and PHANTOM BOY coming to NYC in order to meet their fans and do post film Q&A's.

I'm going to do full reviews of both films later this week. I'm doing that because both films deserve a great deal more than I can give them now. ADAMA in particular has me upset that adult animation like that film is going to get lost and possibly never released in the US.

But that's a discussion for another time.

ADAMA is Simon Rouby's masterpiece tale of a 12 year old West African boy who chases after his brother after enlists with the French Army. His tale takes him across the Mediterranean and into the hell on earth that was the battle of Verdun.  Rouby's film is a glorious mix of animation styles that upends what you think animation should be.  Much more amazing is his storytelling which takes what you think is a simple tale and turns it into something thought provoking and deeply moving. The best way to explain how good this film is is to say that were this live action the film would have people tossing Oscars at it.

I'm going to do a long review in a few days, until then just know you have to track this film down (Saturday's screening at NYICFF is sold out but check this page or the theater to see if they release more tickets)

Before the film Simon Rouby introduced the film.

After the film Rouby talked about the film. He talked about how the film was based on a largely undiscussed part of history. He also said that the film came about when he was asked to do some sketches for a project the screen writer was doing.

Rouby said that the path to the film was about six years. About four years of getting it together and two years actually shooting it.

He also discussed the various techniques used to do the animation. Clay characters where created and then manipulated with computers. The backgrounds were created with different styles with the film going more and more torwad a painterly look as Adama gets farther from home. The idea is that the art mirrors Adama's inner landscape. The result is film that looks like no other.

A full review is coming.

After ADAMA came PHANTOM BOY from Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli the directors of A CAT IN PARIS and ONE HELL OF A PLAN, a world premiere short which is screening as part of Shorts Two.
Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli and a translator

PHANTOM BOY is billed as a superhero story about Leo, a young boy with an undisclosed illness. Forced to stay in a hospital while getting treatment he finds that he can leave his body and travel around. He frequently helps patients in the hospital return to their bodies before they disappear forever (they can only project for a brief time). Leo ends up helping a police lieutenant who is in the hospital after an encounter with a mad man who is threatening to bring down the city.
Jean-Loup Felicioli
Its a good film but it suffers from comparison to the other films playing at the festival. While its a cracking good adventure, the film suffers from some plot holes that take you out of the moment a couple of times. Don't get me wrong under any other circumstances the film would be tops of the pops, here it just suffers being next to some films which are among 2016's best. (I'll explain my feelings in a full review soon)
Alain Gagnol
The Q&A was a bit of fun. There were lots of talk about superheroes, Both men love Marvel comics and Spiderman in particular. Their love of Marvel was due to Marvel being readily available in France but also because the characters played as much more human. The kids also asked lots of questions about things that aren't in the films such as what was Leo's illness, will he still have powers after the film and what exactly happened to the bad guy's face - the fact that we almost find out any number of times but don't is a running gag through out the film.

I would go into greater detail but at least three people  recorded the Q&A so I'm certain it is going to show up somewhere- probably on the GKids DVD release of the film which will come after the theatrical release.

I had a blast today and I hope that I can get to the festival the next two weekends.

And if you want more pictures from today's screenings go to the Unseen Films Tumblr page where more can be found.

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