I took a look at the upcoming movies of seven animation directors whose work I’ve enjoyed: Alê Abreu (Boy and the World), Jorge Gutierrez (The Book of Life), Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea), Rémi Chayé (Long Way North), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), Mark Osborne (The Little Prince) and Bibo Bergeron (A Monster in Paris).
Alê Abreu is the genius behind Boy and the World. I cannot wait to see what he does next. He says he’s working with Luiz Bolognesi (Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury) on a feature called Voyagers of the Enchanted Forest. It seems like it will involve children, aliens and a psychedelic forest. No matter what it becomes, I 100% trust Abreu to deliver something mind-blowing. I don’t expected to see this movie any time soon though. He once said he planned to build a house in the mountains to quietly work on his next film!
Jorge Gutierrez directed The Book of Life with a lot of heart and an unmistakable art style. He will team up again with Reel FX for his next feature, a space western called Kung Fu Space Punch. He will present extracts from the film at Annecy in June! Here’s the synopsis:
One of the galaxy’s most charming space biker outlaws, Johnny Holliday is put on a collision course with the legendary villain Kathulo to determine the fate of the galaxy. Along the journey, Johnny will also have to deal with Ramona Sanchez, a hot-headed childhood rival who protects their town of Rio Bravo.
That synopsis sounds like a curious mess, but the artwork is already mind-blowing:
Tomm Moore is the director of The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. Both movies are inspired by Irish folklore. He is also the co-founder of Cartoon Saloon and serves as a producer on other Cartoon Saloon productions like The Breadwinner and Puffin Rock. His next movie will be titled Wolfwalkers and dive into Irish mythology again:
In a time of superstition and magic, when wolves are seen as demonic and nature an evil to be tamed, a young apprentice hunter, ROBYN, comes to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last pack. But when Robyn saves a wild native girl, MEBH, their friendship leads her to discover the world of the WOLFWALKERS and transform her into the very thing her father is tasked to destroy.
A teaser has been released, and it looks just as fascinating as Moore’s two previous films:
After working as an assistant director on The Secret of Kells and The Painting, Rémi Chayé directed the beautiful Long Way North. His next feature, A childhood of Martha Jane Canary, will feature another strong-willed teenage heroine:
In 1863, in the midst of a convoy heading West, Martha Jane’s father gets hurt. It is she who must drive the family wagon and take care of the horses. It is too much boldness for Abraham, the leader of the convoy. Accused of theft, Martha has to run away. Dressed as a boy, searching for the evidence of her innocence, she discovers a world in construction where her original personality will assert itself. An adventure full of dangers that will, step by step, reveal the mythical Calamity Jane.
It looks like it will have a painterly quality like Long Way North:
Nina Paley is as independent as an animator can get. She mostly works alone and she publishes her work online for free. That’s how she released Sita Sings the Blues. Whereas Sita Sings the Blues was informed by Hindu mythology, her next feature, Seder-Masochism, will be inspired by Judeo-Christian mythology. She has so far published over 40 minutes of the incomplete film on her website. It’s once again a musical.
Mark Osborne co-directed Kung Fu Panda with John Stevenson. He then moved to France to direct The Little Prince. He will return to Hollywood to direct an adaptation of the comic book Bone at Warner Animation. Here’s a description of the comic book:
After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins – Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone – are separated and lost. One by one, they find their way into a deep forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran’Ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter Thorn. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them and their adventures are only just beginning!
And here’s an image from the comic book:
Bibo Bergeron directed The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale, then left DreamWorks and directed the French film A Monster in Paris. His next movie will be a kid-friendly war film titled Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero. He’s also preparing Charlotte, a movie about the life of Charlotte Salomon, a Jewish German painter who created a series of autobiographical paintings while hiding from the Nazis. The look of the film (right) will be inspired by her paintings (left):