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Indie Sales Boards Animated Feature ‘The Crossing’ About Children Refugee (EXCLUSIVE)

VARIETY February 11, 2020 | Elsa Keslassy

Indie Sales, the Paris-based company which sold the Oscar-nominated “My Life as a Zucchini” around the world, has come on board Florence Miailhe’s “The Crossing,” a timely, hand-painted animated feature shedding light on children refugees.

Written by Miailhe, along with the popular children’s book author Marie Desplechin, “The Crossing” is a contemporary tale exploring the plight of hundreds of thousands of youths who live on the road or in precarious environments with or without their parents. As with “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Crossing” revolves around children overcoming difficult situations, and addresses an adult audience.

The French company has acquired international sales to “The Crossing” and will start representing the project at Berlin’s European Film Market later this month. “The Crossing” will make the feature debut of Miailhe, who previously directed several critically acclaimed animated shorts, such as the Cesar-winning “A Summer Night Rendez Vous” and “Urban Tale” which won the Special Jury Award in Cannes in 2006.

“The Crossing” centers on a family who is forced to flee their small village which is looted in
darkness. The film follows the heroic journey of the two oldest children, Kyona and Adriel, as they face the road of exile alone, driven by the hope that they will find refuge in a free world at last.

“This exceptional film is the perfect illustration of the power of great art to impact an audience’s perspective on a very important worldwide crisis – the plight of migrant children who are left to fend for themselves – a situation which is increasingly dire,” said Eleanor Coleman, the head of animation and new media acquisitions at Indie Sales.

Coleman praised Miailhe for her “exceptional technique and voice,” as well as “unique storytelling potential (which are) pushing the boundaries of artistic beauty and possibility”.

Veteran film executives and Indie Sales’s co-founder Nicolas Eschbach, said the company’s track record with My Life as a Zucchini” “illustrates the strong international potential that author driven animation has when it
respects distributors’ needs and expectations.”

Eschbach said animated arthouse films like “The Crossing” had the potential to fare well in today’s market as long as the “budget, the commercial potential and the targeted audience match the ambition and assets of the creative team.”

Adult-skewing animated films dealing with contemporary social and political issues have proven popular within festival circuits, as well as in theaters. Recent examples include the Indie Sales-repped “Another Day of Life,” which world premiere as a special screening at Cannes. The movie is set against the backdrop of the 1975 Angolan civil war.

“The Crossing” was pitched at Cartoon Movie last year, after being presented in the work-in-progress session at Annecy in 2018. It will also be back at this year’s Cartoon Movie event. “The Crossing” was produced by Les Films de l’Arlequin, Balance Films, XBO Films and Maur Film. “The Crossing” will be released this Spring in France by Gebeka Films.

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