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The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily

(Status: in production)


Tonio, the son of the King of the bears, is being kidnapped by some hunters in the Sicilian mountains. King Leonce decides to invade the land of men and finally succeeds finding his son. But bears are not meant to live in the land of men…

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily
Director: Lorenzo Mattotti
Authors: Thomas Bidegain,
Jean-Luc Fromental & Lorenzo Mattotti (Adaptation from La Famosa invasione degli orsi in Sicilia by Dino Buzzati)
Producers: Valérie Schermann & Christophe Jankovic (Prima Linea Productions, France)
Co-Producers: Nicola Giuliano (Indigo Film, Italy) / Aurélie Rouvière (France 3 Cinéma, France) / Pathé films (France)
Target audience: Family
Technique: 2D digital / 3D digital

The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily was the project which gathered the most interest from attendees in Cartoon Movie 2018. It is a fascinating new film project based on an old Italian childrens book written and illustrated by a historically famous, multi-talented Italian artist Dino Buzzati. Lorenzo Mattotti, a famous Italian comic artist as well as an illustrator, is writing and directing the film. You can find Lorenzo’s illustrations in some back issues of famous magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vogue, The New Yorker, Le Monde and Vanity Fair. We could hear the story behind the attractive project from the producer, Valérie Schermann.

Interview with Valérie Schermann

Animationweek (AW): Could you please briefly let us know the attractiveness and uniqueness of this film for our global audience?

Valérie Schermann: The story by Buzzati has not aged at all, because it fundamentally is based on the relationship between father and son, and is also an ecological fable. It is a realistic awakening of the world, so it is serious, funny and marvelous at the same time. The drawings by Mattotti are very powerful, and we feel it is universal. Every child in the world could enjoy this film, regardless of their cultural background.

AW: When and how did you decide to make a film based on the book that was published in 1945?

Valérie Schermann: It was nearly 10 years ago, when Lorenzo Mattotti mentioned to us that if he made a film of the book, it would be this one. We began work on this project in 2013, once Mrs. Buzzati, with a lot of enthusiasm, granted us the adaptation rights, as a result of her conversations with Lorenzo.

AW: The visuals you showed us during your presentation were really great and I could imagine that the completed film would guide us to a captivating fantasy world. How are you developing such attractive visuals of the universe of the film?

Valérie Schermann: The images in the film were based upon Buzzati’s own drawings. Mattotti wanted to pay tribute to the original visuals. Then the team in our studio, who made The Red Turtle (2016), took on the preparation work from Mattotti, and with him, developed an exceptional visual universe.

AW: In the film, there are some original characters, who don’t appear in the book. Could you please briefly let us know the process of making those new characters?

Valérie Schermann: In the book, there is a narrator who brings a lot to the story, but we could not incorporate a voice-over throughout the entire film, therefore the script writers created a minstrel character, accompanied by a little girl. They seek shelter in a cave for the night, but they wake up an old bear, to whom they will tell the famous story about the Invasion of the Bears in Sicily. Everything which happens in the cave was invented by us for the film.

AW: What stage your project is at now? And what kind of support, such as co-production partner or sales agent or distributor, are you looking for?

Valérie Schermann: We are ready to finish the animation and will deliver the film in March 2019. Our international distributor, Wild Bunch, will start selling the film to the next Cannes Festival 2018.