Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds

(Status: In Development)

Juliette (4 years old) and Carmen (8 years old), two intrepid sisters, discover a passage between their world and the extraordinary universe of their favorite book: the kingdom of the winds. Transformed into cats at their arrival, they are imprisoned and separated by the mayor of the village following Juliette’s clumsiness. Juliette is offered as a pet to Selma, a singer with whom the mayor is secretly in love, and Carmen is sentenced to marry his son, a desperately lonely teenager. Thanks to Selma, the two girls will find each other. But how will they manage to come back to their world? Only Sirocco, who Selma once knew, may help them. But is he as terrifying as the villagers think and that the book implied?

Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds
Director: Benoît Chieux
Authors: Benoît Chieux and Alain Gagnol
Producer: Ron Dyens (Sacrebleu Productions, France)
Target audience: Family
Technique: 2D digital

Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds is an attractive animated film project of an adventure story in a fantasy world, told with beautiful and inventive visual design of characters and universe, as you can see in its first trailer.

The director and author of the film Benoît Chieux is a multi-talented creator who has directed, written, storyboarded and designed the visuals for many animation titles, including the two films which he worked with Jacques-Rémy Girerd, Aunt Hilda! (2013) and Mia and the Migoo (2008). For the film project Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, he is writing the story together with Alain Gagnol who is famous for A cat in Paris (2010) and Phantom Boy (2015).

We could interview Ron Dyens, the producer of this film project who recently produced Marona’s Fantastic Tale (2019) and Long Way North (2015), and hear the story behind the eagerly-anticipated film project.

Interview with Ron Dyens

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know the key points of your animated feature film project that you would like to appeal to the prospective audience?

Ron Dyens: In our point of view and in a marketing-speaking way, we consider Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds as a perfect mixed product. Indeed, it’s a mainstream and a arthouse movie but it can also touch the hearts of children all around the world. So, basically it’s a universal movie.

The intentions we want to push were mainly focusing on 2 aspects: ‘breath’ and ‘boredom’.

‘breath’ because Benoît wants to express something impossible or very difficult to portray: wind, breath, blow, storm…

‘boredom’ because this is always the starting point of the imagination and the best way for big adventures.

HN: How did the project start? And where did the initial idea of the story come from and How did you develop the story from scratch?

Ron Dyens: Benoît began to draw images but didn’t have any story on it. It’s after the production of many drawings that he came to Alain Gagnol who is the co-scriptwriter and co-director of A cat in Paris (2010) and Phantom Boy (2015), and Alain wrote a story based on the drawings. But we all know that we have to write before drawing, generally!

HN: Could you please let us know the most important characteristic and goal of the visual design of the universe for the story and characters?

Ron Dyens: I think that this movie has a very simple way of speaking to children. It reaches the imagination of children by its free world. We know that children are more capable of entering the imagination than adults.

Regarding the visual design, there is a lot of inspirations. Some are from Moebius, Tomi Ungerer, Claude Ponti, Paul Grimault, Hayao Miyazaki, etc.

Another important aspect is the integration of the characters inside the background. Often, they are separated from each other. Sometimes it’s not even made with the same technique. Here, everything is on the same level.

HN: Could we hear about your plan and vision of the music for the film?

Ron Dyens: Pablo Pico, the musician of our previous feature Marona’s Fantastic Tale will compose the music. It will be an orchestral one. The theme of the wind will be very important, both with instruments and with voices. For instance, Selma will be a lyrical singer in the movie.

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