Anonymous Content has come on board California surf-themed animated feature adapted from illustrator AJ Dungo’s celebrated graphic memoir, “In Waves.”
Produced by Paris-based Silex Films, “In Waves” marks the feature debut of Phuong Mai Nguyen (“Brazen”), and is being penned by Fanny Burdino and Samuel Doux, whose screenwriting credits include “After Love” and “The Origin of Evil.”
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The feature is produced by Priscilla Bertin and Judith Nora, co-Founders of Silex Films, alongside Charades and Nick Shumaker, Garrett Kemble, and David Levine who will executive produce on behalf of Anonymous Content.
“We fell in love immediately with ‘In Waves’ on first read,” said Nick Shumaker on behalf of Anonymous Content. “Its themes of first love, loss, and memory will speak to worldwide audiences across age ranges and demographics, and is a needed anecdote to help inject positive emotion back into our everyday,” Shumaker continued. He pointed out the projects marks the banner’s first foray in animation.
Charades, meanwhile, has a track record in animation, having previously handled several award-winning animated features, including Jeremy Clapin’s Oscar-nominated “I Lost My Body,” winner at Cannes’ Critics Week, and Mamoru Hosoda’s Oscar-nominated “Mirai” which opened at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.
Bertin said this “top-level association will put the film in the best possible way on the international market.”
AC Independent, Anonymous Content’s recently launched sales and finance division, and Charades (“Mirai,” “I Lost My Body”) will oversee domestic sales. Charades will handle international sales. Diaphana will distribute the film in France.
The film follows AJ, a shy teenager, who meets Kristen while in high school in Los Angeles. Kristen is passionate about surfing and she’s the most beautiful person he’s ever met. He falls madly in love with her. As life seems to finally come together for AJ, Kristen’s life starts falling apart, shattered by illness. Together, they will fight adversity with dignity and enjoy their now-shared passion for surfing and for the ocean, but also their loyal band of friends even when they know Kristen is doomed. This is what happens when love and friendship become a wave stronger than anything.
Dungo’s novel has been published in more than 10 countries and has been translated into numerous languages including French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Slovakian. Since being published in 2019, the graphic novel has sold 60,000 copies in France. The vibrant graphic novel has received international critical acclaim and accolades including winning the BD Fnac-France Inter Award (2020, France); the Prix des Libraires du Québec (2020 – comics category, Canada); American Library Association’s Alex Award (2020, USA); was an official selection at Angoulême International Comics Festival in France and the EGL Awards – Nonfiction Adult Graphic Literature in the U.S.. It was also named one of NPR’s Favorite Books in 2019.
Mai Nguyen, a graduate of the Gobelins and La Poudriere animation schools, has directed several shorts, including “My Home,” which was shortlisted for the Academy Awards in 2016. She co-helmed the animated series “Brazen,” a series about historical women of various time periods which was also produced by Silex.
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