The Annecy Film Festival is here and continues on through Saturday. Like most festivals, they are including an online format as well as in person in the town of Annecy, France. You can find out more about the festival on their website here.
The big highlight of day 1 came from Netflix and its animation team. In the panel, they previewed four projects, both film and series, and they all had a focus on diversity with most using music to tell the stories. Here is some highlights:
First up was a new series called Centaurworld. This featured creator and executive producer Megan Nicole Dong and executive producer Dominic Bisgnano. The main concept is a warhorse in the middle of a battle when all of a sudden he loses his rider and is transformed into a ”magical musical happy muppety world called Centaurworld.” As this surly warhorse character deals with this bubble gum world, he goes on an “action adventure, fish out of water, road trip musical with fantasy and a little bit of scifi.” It honestly sounds like it has it all.
Dong says she got the inspiration for the show from her experience in high school getting dropped into glee choir when no other electives were available. It had never occurred for her to take glee choir, but then she ended up loving it, and it changed her life. Bisgnano worked on Star vs. the Forces of Evil and brought some of that energy over to Centaurworld. The music in the show is not going to be extras. “There are no song parodies or songs for the sake of having songs. The songs are all rooted in storytelling.”
You can see from the trailer above what we can expect from Centaurworld. It definitely looks intriguing, and something we all need to watch come July 30th.
Next up we had a new series called Karma’s World, which is the baby project of rapper and actor Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges. He was inspired to create the series by his then 6-year-old daughter (who is now 21). He loved the series Doc McStuffins and wanted to make something that showcased the Black experience for his daughters. “I believe Karma is going to be a much bigger artist than Ludacris has ever been.”
The show airs in the fall and will feature forty 11-minute episodes about a young Black girl and her adventures in a Brooklyn-like borough of New York. “As we grew up staples of childhood helped build our confidence. It’s a form of entertainment but it also brightened our world up,” said Ludacris. He also talked about working with Brown Bag Studios in Ireland, Nine Story Studios, and Netflix: “It’s like The Avengers have nothing on us.”
Back to the Outback
Continuing on, we had a presentation on a new animated film out of Australia coming this fall to Netflix called Back to the Outback. Director/writer Harry Cripps and co-director Clare Knight presented the panel on what looks like a very interesting film. The hero of the movie, Maddie, is the most deadly snake in Australia. All the main characters are deadly animals who are in a zoo enclosure but escape out into the outback.
Naturally, a koala named Pretty Boy joins the adventure and just might be the film’s antagonist. Knight says “It’s important in this day and age that characters accept themselves as beautiful no matter what. This is a love letter to the outsider.” Evidently the higher-ups tried to get them to change Maddie from a snake, but they refused. “She had to be a snake,” said Cripps. The various backgrounds looked gorgeous, and it sounds like a fun project. “The world that was so small gets bigger and bigger…We tried to make it vast and beautiful.”
Finally, we got a preview for the upcoming animated film from Sony Pictures Animation Vivo. This panel included director Kirk Demicco and production designer Carlos Zaragoza, and they spent a lot of time talking about Zaragoza having “all the ingredients that are great to me.”
The teaser for Vivo only included the kinkajou and his beloved owner Andres, but the panel introduced us to the little girl Gabi who becomes an assistant for Vivo as he tries to make his way from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida. Demicco describes Vivo as an “unapologetic musical with songs that are the tent-poles and structure of the film. They also went to great lengths to give the film a “nostalgic warm film inspired by the travel postcards of the 1950s and 1960s.” The filmmakers traveled to Havana, Miami, and the Everglades to get the right atmosphere and backgrounds for the project. Zaragoza said, “Miami is like Havana on steroids,” and “we wanted to make it both modern and old fashioned at the same time.” The film had extensive cultural consultants and focus groups and includes a song called ‘Keep the Beat’ which Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote while in lockdown last summer.
All of these projects look exciting, and we can’t wait to see them come to fruition. What are you most excited about coming from Netflix?
Edited by: Kelly Conley