Marc Du Pontavice, whose Paris-based company Xilam won Cannes Critics’ Week top prize with the animated feature “I lost My Body,” is set to expand the scope of his thriving listed outfit with new projects skewing adults and teens.
Among these projects is a series adaptation of “Monkey Bizness,” the popular French comics created by Pozla and El Diablo, the pair behind “Les Lascars.” Xilam has acquired the right to the comics collection and is collaborating with the authors Pozla and El Diablo on a half-hour comedy series for young adults. The series is set in a new future in a world dominated by monkeys. It follows the adventures of two clumsy under-achievers, Jack Mandrill et Hammerfist, who are working for the local mafia and are doing everything backwards.
“‘Monkey Bizness’ will be an off-beat and irreverent comedy series appealing primarily to young adults,” said Du Pontavice, who was honored on Tuesday at the Annecy Film Festival where “I Lost My Hand” will have a sneak premiere. The producer said he will likely get a streaming service on board for “Monkey Bizness.”
“There is a strong demand right now for niche projects like ‘Monkey Bizness’ because platforms allow us to target a niche globally and therefore gives us the possibility to access bigger budgets than if we were trying to finance a series based on a niche in a single market,” said Du Pontavice.
Listed on the Paris stock exchange since 2002, Xilam has seen its value skyrocket by 300% to nearly 40 euros by share, bolstered by the success of non-verbal slapstick comedy series like “Oggy and the Cockroaches,” “Zig and Sharko” and more recently “Paprika.” The company recently branched out to sophisticated animated features for adults and families like Jeremy Clapin’s debut feature “I Lost My Hand” and intends on doing more of these going forward. Du Pontavice said Xilam was working with Clapin on his next project.
Sold by Charades, “I Lost My Body” was acquired by Netflix following its Cannes unspooling for worldwide rights with the exception of China, Benelux, Switzerland, Russia and France. Du Pontavice said the movie marked a milestone because it’s one of the rare animated film for adults which isn’t political.
“‘I Lost My Body’ is first and foremost a romantic comedy and an intimate, singular film; the fantasy aspect comes second and when you watch the movie you quickly forget it’s animated, notably because it’s shot like a live-action film,” said Du Pontavice.
At Annecy, Xilam also unveiled its series project with Disney Plus streaming channel, “Chip ‘n’ Dale,” which will be a reboot of the cult series. The show will be driven by slap-stick comedy – something that Xilam has become an expert at — and will follow a pair of chipmunks who struggle with life in the big city. Du Pontavice said Disney approached Xilam to not only handle the animation but also create the entire reboot.
“It’s very rewarding to collaborate with Disney on bringing back these beloved characters,” said Du Pontavice, adding that the company has been developing the series for the last two years.
“I Lost My Body” will be released in France by Rezo on Nov. 6.
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