Animated VR Anthology ‘Blue Figures’ Brings Jazz Greats to Life

French 2D animation specialist Disnosc will bring Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Fats Waller to a headset near you.

A family venture founded by Fabrice and Nathan Otaño – a father-son duo with respective experience in corporate analytics and high-end animation, with credits on films like “The Summit of the Gods” and “Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia” – the Biarritz-based studio launched in 2020 to bring pet-project “Blue Figures” to the small screen.

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Co-directed by David Calvert and developed in-house, the hand-drawn anthology series follows a Parisian record store, staffed by jazz aficionados, that opens a wider window onto the world. Episodes will focus on individuals such as Davis, Baker and Waller, as well as pianist Mary Lou Williams and French author-scenester Boris Vian.

“Jazz isn’t just about music,” says producer Fabrice Otaño, evoking Miles Davis’ infamous police assault outside of New York’s Birdland. “It’s also about political and social struggle. Through conversations in the store, we can explore questions of racism, addiction and female advancement, evoking the jazz greats who dealt with similar concerns in their lives and art. We’ll take the social themes that informed this music and apply them to contemporary life.”

“Blue Figures”
“Blue Figures”

The producer had always envisioned the project as a trans-media property, developing the series alongside a tie-in podcast in partnership with French public radio station FIP and a digital graphic novel adaptation that eventually transformed into a VR series after the Disnosc brass started experimenting with animation software Quill.

To that end, Otaño pere et fils brought the project to Quebec’s Atelier Grand Nord XR incubator, where they landed a Canadian co-producer and a distributor in Montreal-based immersive specialist Hubblo. With additional support coming from French regional, municipal and national funds, the project recently pitched at the NewImages Festival’s XR Development Market, aiming for a 2025 delivery.

Developing an XR title in a market where distribution remains an open, unfixed and eternal concern, the producers think their particular property could make inroads with music festivals and other location-based circuits that welcome a ravenous fan-base.

While tending in-house projects, Disnosc has also set up a production services banner, recently partnering with David Ellison’s Skydance Media on a number of storyboarding and visual development assignments.

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