What if the dreams that fill children’s nights were actually sent to them by fantastic creatures called…Chimera? And what if these animals had other mind-blowing powers, like remaining invisible to human eyes? And what if these Chimera were also extremely sensitive, and that the slightest annoyance prevented them from fulfilling their mission? You don’t believe it? Wendy and Wanda didn’t either! And yet…
The Chimera Keepers
Director: Clement De Ruyter
Scriptwriter: Marie Manand
Graphic design: Clement De Ruyter and Lila Peuscet
Producers: Giorgio Welter (Monello Productions, France) and Cécile Sady (Monello Productions, France)
Format: 52 x 11’30
Target audience: Children 6-11
Technique: 2D digital / 3D digital / Cut-out
The Chimera Keepers is a fantasy animated TV series project centering on Wendy and Wanda, two cheerful sisters who have adventurous experiences with fascinating creatures: the chimeras.
The project was revealed during the pitch at Cartoon Forum 2021. The story of the two sisters’ dreamlike experiences, together with the colorful and kid-friendly chimeras, made the project more impressive for us.
We heard the story behind the project from the director Clement De Ruyter and the producers Giorgio Welter and Cécile Sady.
Interview with Clement De Ruyter, Giorgio Welter and Cécile Sady
Hideki Nagaishi (HN): Could you please let us know what part of this animation project you think will be the most appealing or attractive to the prospective audience?
Giorgio Welter and Cécile Sady: In our opinion, the most appealing to kids is to follow two normal girls who are going to live incredible and funny adventures. The discovery of an extraordinary wild thanks to an extraordinary graphic style.
HN: Could you please let us know the theme or topic of the series, as well as the outline of the story of the series, in brief?
Clement De Ruyter: The Chimera Keepers tells the story of two sisters Wendy and Wanda. While spending the summer at their grandfather Walter’s house, they discover that the surrounding countryside is populated by strange creatures, the chimeras. These chimeras live in harmony with nature and need serenity to accomplish a vital mission: to send dreams to all the children of the world. To make sure that everything goes well, a chimera keeper watches over them. And this chimera keeper is their grandfather. And so, in one summer vacation, thanks to their grandpa, Wanda and Wendy will become Chimera Keepers.
The main subject of this series is to illustrate our relationship with nature and the wild by using chimeras as a gateway to this world. Each chimera carries with it vegetal, mineral or animal attributes. All chimeras are the quiet guardians of the different biomes that the sisters will enjoy browsing.
HN: Where did the initial idea of the story come from, and what do you take care in the most when you develop the story of each episode with Marie Manand?
Clement De Ruyter: I think the initial idea came from striking images of beautiful, funny, or scary creatures from my childhood. Creatures that I loved to discover in games, books, movies and series. I have always loved fantasy animal bestiaries and wanted to create my own. My imagination is the product of these influences, from Pokémon to Totoro to the Owl from Dungeons and Dragons! That’s how I created the chimeras.
But I needed good stories to tell about my dreams. Stories that would scare kids a little, stories that would intrigue them, but also stories that would make them laugh.
I think the most important thing for me in each episode is to find a good balance between comedy and the majesty of chimeras. I want to create wonder but also good entertainment.
HN: What is the most important characteristic of the visual design of the characters and universe for the story in the animation series, and why?
Clement De Ruyter: All the chimeras are made of paper cut-outs and made by Lila Poppins, whose specialty is paper cut-outs. With her technique and mastery of paper, Lila was able to bring to life the majestic creatures I had in my head. The “paper” aspect helps to create wonder and curiosity for these characters. But for me, it was important that only the chimeras and their immediate environment be made of paper. That’s why the rest of the series is in 2D. The fact of mixing the technique is at the heart of the concept of two “worlds” that meet, that of humans and that of these magical creatures.
HN: What can you tell us about the music for the animation series at the moment?
Clement De Ruyter: The music, composed by Antoine Duchêne, has Irish influences but also more electronic sounds and the use of sampled sounds (especially paper). I really like this mix of sounds which again can be put in parallel with the 2D / 3D technique or my influences of western and eastern fantasy. The goal is always to find a balance and to respect the poetry of the universe.