The Magnificent Lion Boy has been selected for the Cinéfondation category of films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2013– the only UK film in this category.
Directed by Ana Caro and Produced by James Cotton, the animated film includes characters voiced by Lord of the Rings actor/director Andy Serkis and Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville.
It is one of only 18 films that have been selected this year, out of 1550 entries that were submitted by 277 film schools from all over the world and is the only one from the UK. The festival runs from May 15 – 26th.
NFTS Director Nik Powell said: “This is an incredible achievement and the school is justly proud of its students. To have been selected out of thousands including non-film school entries is testament to the high caliber of film-making and story telling we have at the NFTS. The charcoal drawing technique is unusual, but at the NFTS we allow students the creative space to produce the films they feel passionately about in the style that they believe will tell the story in the most convincing way.”
The Magnificent Lion Boy is a 2D hand-drawn charcoal animation, a process in which animation director Ana Caro painstakingly drew each picture with charcoal and animated each shot on paper before rubbing out part of the drawing and re-drawing to create a sense of movement, with 12 drawings per second. While a somewhat laborious process, with Ana drawing over 7000 images during production, this low-tech style of animation creates beautifully fluid images that add to the flow of the story.
The film’s Producer James Cotton said: "We are honoured to be included within the most renowned film festival in the world, and delighted that our film has been recognised for both its originality in technique and boldness of storytelling. It'll be fantastic to fly the flag for the NFTS and the whole of the UK in the Cinéfondation strand."
Actor Hugh Bonneville, who provided the voice of Leonard Orlov in the film said: "I'm delighted to be part of The Magnificent Lion Boy. It's a beautifully crafted animation, which I think marks out Ana Caro as a creative artist and film maker of real talent. It's wonderful news that the film has been selected for the Cinéfondation section of Cannes 2013."
The film tells the story of a British Anthropologist Leonard Orlov who discovers a feral child in Africa living a primitive existence, who is thought to have been raised by lions. Horrified, he brings the creature back to Victorian London, intent on civilizing the child.
This is the second year in succession that an NFTS film has been selected for Cannes. Last year (2012) Head Over Heels was selected and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Hugh Bonneville - Leonard Orlov
Andy Serkis - Umberto Farini
Yahsaint Benjamin Kowouvi - Lion Boy.
Film Crew: Director - Ana Caro; Producer - James Cotton; Writer - Jonathan Carr; Cinematographer – Alfie Biddle; Production Designer – Natasha Mackey; Editor - Paulo Pandolpho; Sound Designer & Dubbing Mixer - Ania Przygoda; Composer - Sarah Warne; VFX Supervisor, Online Editor & Colour Grader – Jason Evans; CGI Pre-visualisation – James Miller, Jack Whinnett, Production Manager – Natalie Langowski