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Klaus, Netflix’ first animated film, presented at Annecy


- The first images from the Spanish production to be released by Netflix in December have been presented at Annecy, while the platform has also signed agreements with Paris school Gobelins

Klaus, Netflix’ first animated film, presented at Annecy

During the Works in Progress section of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Netflix unveiled the first images from Klaus, the global platform’s first full-length animated film. The new, high-definition image chosen by Cineuropa was released yesterday to coincide with the title’s WIP session.

Klaus is a product of the imagination of Spaniard Sergio Pablos, the co-creator of Despicable Me and founder of SPA Studios who first had the idea for the project in 2010 and subsequently wrote the screenplay with Zach Lewis and Jim Mahoney. "If you take Santa Claus, not as a main character but as a symbol of altruism and good will, and you create a protagonist who needs to learn these lessons, it could work", Pablos explained to the audience at Annecy. Indeed, in the film, a young Scandinavian postman named Jasper is offered the opportunity to give his career the boost it needs when he’s tasked with delivering post in a remote village in the chilly North. Here, he meets a mysterious, white-whiskered toymaker by the name of Klaus…

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The director’s own company, SPA Studios, are producing the film entirely in Madrid with the help of Atresmedia Cine and expert Jinko Gotoh in the role of executive producer (The Little Prince [+see also:
making of
film profile
, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part). The estimated budget is around the 40-million-dollar mark, Toon Boom are their technological partners and the picture’s art directors are Szymon Biernacki and Marcin Jakubowski. The production consists of a unique combination of classic, hand-drawn animation and cutting edge, digital technology, while Klaus’ world is characterised by volumetric lighting and texturing typical of CG animation films. Last, but not least, the characters are voiced by Jason Schwartzman (Jesper), J.K. Simmons (Klaus), Rashida Jones (Alva), Joan Cusack (Mrs. Krum), Norm Macdonald (Mogens) and Will Sasso (Mr. Ellingboe).

Annecy also saw an agreement announced between Netflix and the prestigious, Paris-based visual arts school Gobelins. Each year, the Netflix Animation Fellowship will allow one Gobelins graduate to work directly alongside animation experts in Japan developing original Netflix titles. This post-graduate programme will help young designers enhance their technical and creative capabilities with Claire Matz named as the first winner of this new Fellowship. Furthermore, Netflix will finance scholarships for a maximum of ten students per year, over a four-year period. These students will hail from the African continent and will study at Gobelins as part of their Master of Arts in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking. The first recipients of the scholarship will be chosen in September 2019.

(Translated from Italian)

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