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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Czech Republic / Slovakia / France

Ambitious animated film My Sunny Maad enters production

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- A team of more than 30 animators from three countries is working on the movie, which is being directed by Michaela Pavlátová

Ambitious animated film My Sunny Maad enters production
My Sunny Maad by Michaela Pavlátová (© Negativ)

Czech director Michaela Pavlátová (Night Owls, Faithless Games) is currently on the island of Réunion, where animation work on her feature-length animated debut, My Sunny Maad, has recently begun. Animators at Studio Alkay in Prague are also already working on the project.

The story is based on the book Freshta by Petra Procházková, a Czech investigative journalist and war reporter, which is described as a hard-hitting portrayal of Afghan women’s struggle for emancipation during the post-Taliban period. Screenwriter and script consultant Ivan Arsenjev adapted the story for the script; French script consultant and director Jean Charles Finck then worked on the script with Pavlátová. The story follows a Czech woman called Herra, who moves with her partner, the Afghan man Nazir, to his hometown of Kabul. They adopt a handicapped child called Maad, turning family stereotypes on their heads.

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“The main power of the narrative is based on the subtle humour and everyday observational details of family life. My Sunny Maad is a deeply compelling story, where I laugh and cry at the same time. It’s a story of husbands and wives, lovers and friends, where everyone seeks happiness and acceptance against the backdrop of unexpected events,” said the director about the animated film, which is primarily aimed at an adult audience. Kateřina Černá and Petr Oukropec, of Czech production outfit Negativ, are producing the ambitious project, given that the company has been collaborating with the director on a long-term basis. My Sunny Maad marks Negativ’s second big animated project, after the rotoscoped feature-length animated film Alois Nebel [+see also:
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(directed by Tomáš Luňák), which premiered at Venice in 2011 and went on to nab the European Film Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

My Sunny Maad’s budget is €3.4 million, and a team of more than 30 animators from the Czech Republic (Studio Alkay), Slovakia (Studio Plutoon) and France (Studio Gao Shan, on Réunion) is working on the project. Petr Oukropec told Cineuropa that he expects the picture to be finished by spring 2021. Oukropec pitched the film as “a family story like The Celebration by Thomas Vinterberg but set in Kabul; a love story like Gone with the Wind but set in Kabul; a strong heroine like in Persepolis [+see also:
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but in Kabul; a political drama story like in Waltz with Bashir [+see also:
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but set in Kabul”.

My Sunny Maad is being produced by Negativ, and co-produced by Peter Badač, of BFILM (Slovakia), Ron Dyens, of Sacrebleu Production (France), and Czech Television. The project was supported by Eurimages, the Czech Film Fund, the CNC, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, and the French regional funds Eurometropole and Région Réunion. The project was presented at the Cartoon Movie international animated film forum in 2017 and at this year’s Venice Gap-Financing Market. Its world sales agent is Totem Films.

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