Filip only has one dream: to become the greatest hero ever! With the help of Fairy to assist him on his urgent quest, Filip enters into a labyrinth to find a treasure located on top of the highest dungeon. However, this place is home to a notorious villain Marcus and his henchmen ready to fight for him. Filip will have to find his way through this maze, finding keys and their doors, answering riddles, searching for treasures, going through treacherous ways but also fighting against nimble knights, some crazy monks and a lot of not so clever monsters! No matter what, Filip always has a brave heart and unerring joy!
Filip & Fairy
Director: Cédric Frémeaux
Author: Cédric Frémeaux
Producers: Alexis Lavillat (Normaal, France) and Marc Dhrami (Normaal, France)
Format: 78 X 7’
Target audience: Children (5-7)
Techniques: 2D digital
Filip & Fairy is a new animation series project directed by Cédric Frémeaux (50/50 Heroes) and produced by Normaal (Ella, Oscar & Hoo, Zouk the Little Witch, Barbapapa – One Big Happy Family) that was pitched at Cartoon Forum 2023. It guides the audience to a classic RPG-inspired fantasy world where cute characters play out hilarious slapstick short dramas. We interviewed Cédric Frémeaux, the director and author, and Marc Dhrami, a producer.
Interview with Cédric Frémeaux and Marc Dhrami
Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know what part of this animation series you think will be the most appealing or attractive to the prospective audience?
Cédric Frémeaux: Clearly the great dynamic we have between Filip and Fairy, our two main characters, in this kind of world. We’ve never seen cartoon slapstick characters evolve in a dungeon before! Our heroes have strong personalities, and we’ll have to face a lot of trials that put them in many funny, hilarious situations.
HN: Where did the initial idea of the story come from?
Cédric Frémeaux: A few years ago during the Chip’n’Dale production, I started to want to create my own cartoon show. And quickly ONE idea came back in my head again and again: “What would Zelda look like in a cartoon style?” It was the very beginning of Filip&Fairy.
HN: How did this series project start with Normaal? Could you please let us know the journey of the project so far?
Cédric Frémeaux: Last year, Normaal opened a development section inside the company and was looking for new concepts. They asked me to pitch my ideas at Normaal. The first pitch was Filip & Fairy and Alexis Lavillat fell for it. Even during the other pitches, he frequently came back to me to ask questions about it.
After that we developed a graphic/literally bible and a full animatic episode very quickly for the Kidscreen 2023. And a few months later, we developed a full animated teaser for the Cartoon Forum 2023.
HN: How did Normaal come across this series project and why did you decide to produce the series?
Marc Dhrami: We wanted to put in place a new slate of development and were looking for original projects. Cédric developed a series for us, an undisclosed upcoming project from DreamWorks, a few years ago. And when he came with Filip & Fairy, his new project, we thought it was the perfect match. We knew his work and talent and Filip & Fairy is exactly the kind of project Normaal can editorially propose.
HN: What is the most unique or challenging element of this project compares to your previous works?
Cédric Frémeaux: As a cartoon show, we put a lot of energy in the animation: making the characters do extreme posings/actions and facial expressions.
I had to find an economical way of creating backgrounds and the idea to follow a journey of characters inside one labyrinth worked very well. It also matches with the concept and environment of the show.
After that I worked very hard to have iconic visuals and scenes that stay in minds. It was the first time I did colour script by myself, for example, I worked on the global colour transitions between the shots of the teaser. I also did a lot of research on the compositing part to have a better final picture.
HN: In terms of the story of the new animation series, what are you taking care the most to develop?
Cédric Frémeaux: I really want to focus on the characters in very specific situations: what kind of jokes and visual gags we can create for each episode with our two heroes and the selected theme. For example, we can have a Mad Max like story in one episode and a swimming competition story in another.
HN: Could you please let us know the story behind the visual creation? What kind of visual characteristics you aim to achieve and why?
Cédric Frémeaux: With Julien Zanezi, a great character designer, and Charles Lemor, a marvellous background designer, we tried to find a graphic visual that we can create quickly in an economical way. We knew that the characters will be deformed a lot when they are animated. So, while keeping the original graphic, we simplified the shapes of our characters to create time for animators focusing on what is funny in each scene. In terms of the backgrounds, we want to share with the audience a lot of secrets and mystery rooms. So, we tried to make clear backgrounds with a few lines and few textures. For example, we were very inspired by the visual works of The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show.
HN: If you already have clear plan or vision of the music for the series, could you please let us know?
Cédric Frémeaux: “Filip and Fairy, Filip and Fairy, Fillliip annnnddd FFFaaaaiiirrrryyyy !!!!”. Pretty clear and catchy, no?
Once again, I collaborated with Le Feste Antoneci, an Italian music duo who are my “50/50Heroes” teammates. These two guys are geniuses and truly understand my sense of humour. I came to them with a rhythm in my mind and asked them to sing “Filip and Fairy” during the song. Then, they did the music for the teaser in one day! It was fresh and attractive with a lot of energy.
HN: What is the current status of the project? Please tell us about the progress and schedule of the project so far, if possible.
Marc Dhrami: It is in the DNA of Normaal to bet and develop a project. Each year, if we strongly believe in a project, we choose to develop it further and present it at Cartoon Forum.
We decided to invest into Filip & Fairy and produce a bible, a teaser, an animatic and of course a fun presentation and unveil it in Toulouse. So, the next step will be to do the follow-up of Cartoon Forum and convince a French broadcaster to jump on board with us. Of course, we will also bring it to MIP Junior and MIPCOM and present it to international commissioners and buyers who didn’t have the chance to discover it at Cartoon Forum.