“We looked for a place where animation and live action could  have a dialogue”

Chicken for Linda! is one of the biggest works in French and, one could say, world animation of both 2023 and 2024. Not only did it reap prizes in nearly every festival it was screened at – notably the 2023 Annecy Festival and the 2024 Césars, the French Academy Awards – it has been praised for its original design and visuals and dynamic storytelling.

Linda’s two directors are, in the first place, people who have made themselves noticed in their respective fields. Sébastien Laudenbach is a French animator and director, most famous for solo-animating an entire feature, The Girl Without Hands. Chiara Malta is an Italian live-action director whose career has been spent mixing fiction and documentary, animation and live-action. In our interview with them, we discussed these multiple interactions and the road that led to Linda.

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“We were asking ourselves what children would be interested in”

I believe you’ve known each other since way before Linda…

Chiara Malta: Yes, I’d say we’ve been working together for around 20 years already.

That much!

Chiara Malta: We started working together on our first shorts, then the features. When one was available, the other was busy and the other way around, so we could keep working together that way, through constant communication.

Sébastien Laudenbach: Chiara’s been using animation on many of the films she directed, so I could work with her that way or on the scripts. Linda is something we started together quite some years ago already and which spent a lot of time in the back of a drawer.

Chiara Malta: Regarding Linda!, I was an artist-in-residence at a place called Le Moulin D’Andé some time ago. I was done with the film I was supposed to write and had two days left, so I called Sébastien to lay the foundations for a film aimed at children. That’s what we started with, and that’s how Chicken for Linda! started: we were asking ourselves what children would be interested in. What came out of that were the themes of justice, of being open to accidents, and then the ending, which came with an increase in the number of characters. We did all kinds of things there.

I also used animation a lot – sometimes with Sébastien, sometimes with other artists like Cécile Rousset. Sébastien also wrote some things for my films and I for his. We’ve also done shorts for children together.

Where does that interest in animation come from? It seems to me that you’re more of a live-action director, after all.

Chiara Malta: I am, but I already included animation in my first shorts. When I started out, live-action and animation weren’t really put together in the same work – it was something people seemed rather suspicious towards.

I remember my first short, L’Isle, which I showed to the TV station Arte so that they’d produce Armando et la politique, which is more like documentary animation. And Arte was worried about the spectators, the fact that they might be troubled by the switches from live-action to animation. It was like a sort of virgin territory back then, so I approached my films like collages: I’d put multiple genres and techniques together. We still mostly worked on film back then, so I’d use film, digital, animation, and then sometimes archives and fake home-movies… I used to do this sort of collage on my early autobiographical films. I only switched to real fiction for my first feature – it’s still about my family, but I worked with actors. 

Linda is a different kind of collage: it’s nothing but fiction, but it’s animation, so with Sébastien, we made a whole animated feature. But it was necessary for the both of us to do our own film before: Sébastien had done The Girl Without Hands while I was at the Villa Médicis, so I invited him to my workshop. At the time, I was writing another feature, which was also about chaos, about slowly growing disorder, while Sébastien was researching his own technique, which he’s put to great use since then. To put it bluntly, we couldn’t have made Linda! any other way – there are so many crowds, so many characters, just the coloring would have cost too much and taken too much time. From the very start, we knew we wouldn’t get money for anything like that.

Well, let’s get into that – not so much the money, but the producers. How did you find studios? Was Miyu Productions a choice from the start?

Chiara Malta: First, we developed the film with Dolce Vita, the executive producer. And, well, Miyu – if you’re working in animation, you’re bound to cross paths with them. They had called for me a few years ago for a film on the French singer Barbara, that’s how I first came in contact with them.

Chiara Malta: I believe they were initially just a subcontractor. They were already there when we were doing the layouts, but just as a subcontractor: we had some animation done at their studio. Then, at some point, we invited them to join the production in earnest. That’s how the film became a coproduction between France and Italy – Miyu and Dolce Vita.

It was important for me to have a part of Italy in the film. It was also a way for me to get back together with an old teenage friend of mine who became a producer, Flaminio Zadra. He was kind enough to agree to a coproduction and brave enough to make an animated feature like this one – animation production in Italy isn’t easy. Since we had Italian staff, we received some additional funding from Italy, and we could invite Italian animators to work with us – which would’ve been impossible otherwise because they didn’t want to work remotely.

“It was chaos, but chaos with few people, so not that chaotic in the end”

Animation production in Europe tends to be split between different studios spread over different places, but it wasn’t the case for you?

Sébastien Laudenbach: It all depends on the budgets. Our intent from the very beginning was to make it cheap. It was the intent first because it was a way for us to keep as much artistic freedom as possible, whether for the story, the visual style, the staging, the production pipeline… And also, because the film takes place in a housing complex, it is about people with low incomes, strikes, demonstrations, the high cost of life… It seemed absurd to make a 10 million euro film with a story like that.

We had the Italian contribution, and in the end, we made it with 2.5 million – it was rather comfortable. We could’ve made it cheaper, but it would have been a bit tighter. With 2.5 million, everything was alright, we didn’t go over-budget nor overtime. It all went as smoothly as we wanted, and especially the way we wanted: by starting the production with the recording.

Chiara Malta: Beyond that, the thing with recording everything live was that we could go back, look for new things at any given point in the production. During the recording, there were quite a lot of things missing – it was nothing like voice acting with finished drawings where the actors just have to follow the drawings.

On Linda, any kind of chaos would feed into the story. I don’t mean that the production itself was chaotic, but rather that every step was as open as possible – simply because it wasn’t closed. Nowadays, things tend to be locked up in animation. But in our case, everything was open, which is why we needed the animators to be close by: we could go back at any point, even sometimes during the editing, as some shots were already composited…

For instance, there was one sequence we added at the very end of the production which wasn’t there before.

Which scene was that?

Chiara Malta: When Annette enters the room of the old lady and finds the fishing rod. The person who drew that did a superb job – it was already clean, almost complete as is. She knew the character so well already, dialogue wasn’t even necessary: everybody was used to skipping some steps. So sometimes, rather than individual shots, we’d really leave the animators in charge of entire sequences.

Sébastien Laudenbach: As a rule, they were in charge of entire sequences.

Chiara Malta: They’d know by themselves what kind of impulse a scene needed, what kind of direction they should go in. When a drawing is more “complete”, it functions as a stress – so the animation and the story work together.

But that was a risk for producers because we’d never be able to tell when we’d be done. I won’t tell you about all the technical things we went through with the sound – first, we made a film just with the recordings, and then we started working on the animatic. We had to balance things because the images started taking over – the production was made of constant technical back-and-forths, which made things quite unpredictable.

Sébastien Laudenbach: But, well, the animation team was very small. Seven animators and me, the chief animator, but I almost only did that job on paper. Since we were all together in the same place and every animator did basically everything on their own scene, there were no assistants, no clean-up – they directly did clean animation. It meant fewer intermediaries, and that’s how we could go with our approach. It was chaos, but chaos with few people, so not that chaotic in the end. It was all very fluid: everybody was there at the same time, so they could talk with the others, see what they were doing, show each other…

Moreover, we didn’t really stick to the models. There are model sheets, turnarounds, things like that to explain how to draw the characters, but every character was recognizable enough so that every animator could make them theirs. There’s the color, of course, but also some other things: Linda is a ponytail and big ears – as long as you had that, it worked out.

We had already planned that out in the staging: the close-ups are far more detailed than the wide shots, and Linda is not drawn the same way depending on the shot. That was something we had planned since the beginning. It created a possibility for variation, wherein each animator’s style could fit.

Chiara Malta: Yes, everybody was very free when it came to shapes. I come from live-action, so the question of recognizing the characters was really beyond me. I mean, in live-action, actors never actually always have the same face – emotions change faces. In animation, on the other hand, it’s like feelings are frozen up. The character’s feelings are as well. Because everybody’s so obstinate about…

About staying on-model?

Chiara Malta: Yes, whereas with our idea of changing styles between close-ups and wide shots, we established a different set of rules. The idea was: make the characters yours, adapt to how you feel the scene, change it however you want.

There was also the editing, which was very long and took place at the same time as the animation. The editing room and the animators were basically in the same place, except there was a small barrier between the two. But the animators still could look over to see what we were doing. That happened all the time. I’d invite them over, or even when I asked for extra shots, they knew where they’d go, why – so everybody was more aware of everything. It was the director doing pure director things and then talented execution… The real talent was for everybody to be their own director.

Yes, that’s the idea in the end, right? That everybody was a director.

Chiara Malta: That’s it, the animators took some incredible liberties. For instance, the silence of the teacher when she speaks about the death of the king, that doesn’t come from us: it’s the animator. It’s as if we had actors on set, we had them play the film, and then the animators took possession of it – they had it in their ears. It was like a real film had happened – like something had happened, and it had indeed.

That changes everything. We needed the sound beforehand because it enabled the drawings to go free. If the sound is very concrete, it gives the impression that something’s going on, so in terms of drawings, just lines might be enough. All the rest went through the spectator’s eyes, for technical reasons, but also through their imagination.

“We went for people familiar with improvisation”

Ah, I wondered about that. You recorded the sound beforehand, but you didn’t shoot anything; you just recorded?

Chiara Malta: It would have taken too much time if we had done rotoscope or anything like that. We’d have panicked. When I used animation in my documentaries, it was often rotoscope, that’s what’s used most of the time – but animation is about looking for the imaginary. Actually, rotoscope is yet another constraint, whereas we wanted to free the animators.

So the sound was just a way to bounce off, to have some freedom on the set. It helped us enrich the script, which was pretty undecided, unlike a lot of animation scripts, which are beefed up. They have to because they carry all the rest: most animated films are just an exhibition of the script. It wasn’t the case anymore for us.

Sébastien Laudenbach:  At least, we didn’t want it to be the case.

Chiara Malta: The movie had already begun to exist on the set. The film was already about disorder and chaos, after all – I had benefited from that on my previous film, and it’s incredible how a film that hasn’t been shot doesn’t really exist. On a page, a film doesn’t exist. It needs CPR somewhere.

The reason we could tell what we told was thanks to the actors who took hold of it. We could see what worked and what didn’t – some scenes were deleted because they didn’t work out on set. We changed them with something else, really worked things out on the set.

You worked with both amateurs and pros, am I right?

Sébastien Laudenbach: The children weren’t all pros, but the adults were all pro actors.

Chiara Malta: Except for the teacher.

Let’s say that we went for a certain type of actors: people familiar with improvisation. Just this morning, for another interview, I was talking about Laetitia Dosch, who played in La Bataille de Solférino by Justine Triet: that’s a film where there’s a lot of impro. So we wanted to work with actors who used to that kind of thing.

On the other hand, we didn’t think about voices, who would be better to show off. There were actors we wanted to work with, we didn’t want to look for actors that fit pre-existing drawings. We had some drawings, we had the characters already, but sometimes the designs changed because of the actors. The best example is Serge: as soon as Esteban came in, the original design felt too old, too dated, I don’t know. So we changed it: we made a character that fit Esteban’s voice.

Talking about Serge… In both the acting and the design, I thought he looked like French actor Bourvil…

Sébastien Laudenbach: That wasn’t intentional. Esteban’s just like that. He’s a really unique actor who we had previously seen in Antonin Peretjatko’s films. We also knew about his music, as he’s the singer for a band called the Naive New Beaters. We met him just at the last minute: we did an artistic residence in Corsica and started talking about directing – it was just a few weeks before we started the recordings. Esteban was there, and we immediately thought, ‘It’s Serge!’

It wasn’t long before we started recording, and it was really great, because the initial character was a bit lukewarm, a bit like Macron… The initial design had a bit of Macron. We’re glad to hear that he looks like Bourvil or Fernandel in the end, because Esteban was really important. Esteban and Laetitia Dosch – so Serge and Astrid – were really great: we just had to push a button and they went live for hours, they made us laugh a lot.

Chiara Malta: They were great at improvising together. Even the finale – their final dialogue is complete improvisation. Some of the basics were there – notably the fact that she likes his pants and that his mother had sued them… Because, well, all the men in the film are really mama’s boys, right?

Sébastien They all like their mommies.

Chiara Malta: That’s part of the overall return to childhood, and that’s part of how we see men.

Anyways, when Laetitia starts talking about wild animals in Africa and all that, that was pure improvisation. They were… I don’t remember where we had them sit to give the impression that they sat 10 meters above the ground… Anyways, we knew such things would happen with actors like that because they’re all used to it. Laetitia also worked with Christophe Honoré; they’re used to working with modern directors.

What you’re saying reminds me of something Sébastien told me: that he doesn’t watch that much animation. In Linda, overall, it seems like most of your references actually come from live-action.

Chiara Malta: We’ve always approached animation as a technique. And so for me, well, an animated film is just like a live-action film – it’s cinema. I can’t see it as a genre – I mean, it would be like considering analog film as a genre.

We had lots of movies in mind; we basically put everything we liked, just like any other director. We didn’t really know. And then, doing interviews and thinking about things retrospectively pushes us to retrace what fed into the film. But we just put in what we liked.

But it’s true that, when talking with the staff, references helped a lot: we’re the only ones to see them at first. The director’s position is a bit strange because the rest of the staff is in the dark. So having references to show is a way to show what way you want to go towards. This was especially the case for the father’s song at the end: the composer had written something very melancholic at first, but we told him, ‘no, we want music-hall, tap dancing, projectors’. Very quickly, we discussed jazz, Fred Astaire, that kind of stuff, and he understood immediately. After all, the film is about death and the spectacle of death.

“The animatic was a dialogue between us two directors”

So, to come back to the actual production process, first, you did the recording, then the animatic.

Chiara Malta: That’s it.

Sébastien Laudenbach: The actors didn’t see any drawings – well, we had a few sketches, but basically nothing. They didn’t have any drawings as a reference for their acting.

Chiara Malta: They looked because they were curious to know what it would look like in the end. But they played like any other actor: they didn’t know what the movie was going to look like in the end.

Was Sébastien more in charge of the animatic?

Sébastien Laudenbach We did it together. Well, Chiara doesn’t draw, but it doesn’t really change anything, actually.

So Chiara would guide you, provide commentary?

Chiara Malta: Sébastien draws so fast and so well, and he really sold me on the overall staging. I’d talk about framings, and he got it – I work like that, by deciding framings because I come from live-action, but he’s worked with me for some time, and he knows how it goes. On my part, I know how fast he can draw, so it just made things much shorter. So let’s say the animatic was a dialogue between us two directors.

We couldn’t have a third person doing the storyboard because we were already two directors. We couldn’t have had a conversation about framing, we were the ones to decide on that. Also, Sébastien and I have the same references, we have seen the same things, we knew what we were building. You’re best in a group when you feel like you’re working alone. And that was the case here – we completed each other, and everything was very instinctive and simple.

Moreover, the animatic wasn’t that removed from the animation – very quickly, we had something that looked like rushes. That’s why we threw away a lot of things: we could throw away sequences because the animatic was so important. Some shots even developed during the editing, such as the one with the helicopters entering into the cité in the middle of the fog…

That’s funny to hear because that’s quite a complex shot.

Chiara Malta: Yes, and when I asked Sébastien about it, he told me it’d be quite the money shot!

That was the good thing. He had an idea of how much everything cost. Since Sébastien worked completely alone on The Girl Without Hands, he’s got this very specific awareness: how much things cost, how far can we go, what alternative solutions there are… Everybody helped with that. We didn’t ask for much on Linda, but when we did ask for something, everybody knew it was important. A good example is the 3DCG for cars: it was absolutely essential, so we had to rely on it a lot. Especially the car chase… 

At some point, we planned to add rotoscope, but we didn’t in the end. We had tested it in the pilot: the children looking from their windows would have been rotoscoped. It was an almost documentary touch… But we didn’t need it: that documentary effect was already there with the sound.

Sébastien Laudenbach: Rotoscope would have been too heavy! We basically just tried to do things in the simplest way possible.

Chiara just mentioned 3D: we did the entire staging with 3D models, so we could position cameras and characters within this very simplistic 3D space, which we built in just a day with open-source architecture softwares. Since everything happens inside apartments and buildings, it was very simple. It transformed into a set where we could position cameras wherever we wanted and then turn it into drawings – it was all very fast.

That’s one of the things that struck me. Animated films can feel flat very easily, but in Linda, in every framing, every composition, you’ve got this sense of space.

Sébastien Laudenbach: Space was really important for us. You have the plaza in front of those towers: it’s a space for the children inside the buildings – almost locked inside, actually – to take over. It came up very quickly as we discussed the story, and we had to do something with it.

Chiara Malta: There’s this New Wave thing in Linda, although in animation, and maybe that’s why we don’t have that many references. Maybe there are similar shorts, but no features…

Having something so light in animation felt like a completely new path to tread. Basically, a very light kind of filmmaking with direct sound, just like the New Wave but in animation. 

The main issue we were confronted with was, ‘How do we make things as light as possible?” Sébastien had done it already on The Girl Without Hands, but he was alone – that was one way, but it wasn’t possible here because we wanted to be sharing. So we had to come up with a world.

“Every film is like a prototype”

Obviously, I had The Girl Without Hands in mind, I thought Linda would have been much larger, but not that much in the end…

Sébastien Laudenbach: Every film is like a prototype, so I’m not getting used to anything. Working in a team was great. It’s always very interesting and enriching.

But it was interesting to see our view of animation: Chiara herself couldn’t have done Linda without The Girl Without Hands; that’s what interested her. She said, ‘ok, now we can do Linda’, with all the freedom we wanted.

We worked with a very young team which we recruited completely without any prior knowledge: the tests were completely anonymized, we received around 50 submissions, and we realized who were the ones who understood best what we wanted to do – that is, animation based on the flow rather than completed drawings following each other. In other words, working with something incomplete: a lot of drawings are incomplete. Because we knew that, in the overall continuity of the motion, the overall motion would be complete even though the drawings aren’t. And that’s something pretty hard to get used to when you’re a veteran: when you’ve got a 20-25 year career in animation, you can’t just get rid of everything you’ve been taught all this time. So, quite naturally, our animation team was quite young, with most people around 25 to 30 years old. Some were just out of school.

Chiara Malta: The Italians were still students…

Whereas we had an older animator who didn’t want to ‘draw poorly’: for him, it was like forgetting the right way to work. Everything seemed very chaotic, very poorly made. It’s a fact that the drawings don’t really work on their own. But it’s not all there: I’m not sure the quality of a film rests on good drawings. Yes, it’s not very solid, but we were aware of it, and some of the animators were as well – they adapted very well to everything. We went for people open to such things rather than people who could draw well.

I guess the colors and the backgrounds, which are very rich visually, can compensate for the incompleteness of the drawings as well.

Chiara Malta: For the backgrounds, we worked with a painter called Margaux Duseigneur. I love talking about her because, every time, people tell us that the directing and the drawings form a complete whole as if we had decided on everything – but actually, Margaux played a huge part in it. She was completely free; we didn’t lead her at all. Simply, at first, she showed us possible combination of colors – there was something both modern and primitive in it. So, that’s why we chose her.

We made a bet with her, by the way. In the pilot, we had to test whether these characters, this kind of design worked with those backgrounds. And it immediately clicked. But it’s very strange: the drawings are poor, but the backgrounds are just pure art.

Sébastien Laudenbach: They were two on the backgrounds. Margaux decided on all the backgrounds and colors from the layouts we gave her. Then, her assistant added special paints to give texture to each background – every background is unique.

But beyond that, the fact that she was alone made the discussion very easy and fluid. She lived pretty far away, in Corrèze, but her assistant was with her. It was like giving a sequence to an animator and leaving them in charge of it: it’s not like each animator was a director, but more like they had responsibility. Responsibility wasn’t shared: each had their own.

In that sense, Margaux is also a co-author: she’s responsible for all of its colors. We told her characters would have such or such colors, so when she did her compositions, she took that into account: for instance, the fact that there’d be an orange Paulette or a pink Astrid somewhere in the image.

Chiara Malta: She made lots of suggestions. It felt close to live-action, where all technicians share their own ideas. It’s not so much the case in animation, where people feel more like they’re just executing. But we wanted to work another way: each section chief could make proposals. From the actors to the very end.

So you talked about how Margaux Duseigneur decided on the colors. A pretty striking moment is when the teacher talks about the French Revolution and it’s all blue-white-red, is that entirely her own thing?

Chiara Malta: It is. Of course, we had a certain plan for the scene; it didn’t come from nowhere. But Margaux saw where we were going. For the recording, we went to a real classroom with a real teacher, and we asked her to talk about the Revolution. She didn’t want to at first because it’s not that covered in the current curriculum. But we wanted some cruelty. So she did it; she invented it all, and then Margaux adapted to that and built on it.

“We’re not interested in making a dead film”

As a final question regarding the production – you talked a lot about the chaos, the improvisation, is that something you’d stick to, or would you change were the film different?

Sébastien Laudenbach: We wanted to create a feeling of life and of vitality. We did it that way because that’s how we are: Chiara coming from live-action, the experience of being on set with actors and especially children, and me the experience of having done an improvised feature, without script or storyboard… I don’t know if it’s ‘chaos’, but there’s life.

That’s what interests us, because we feel that often, animated films are dead: everything’s too well set in place. You just apply the script and execute something that’s been planned beforehand. We wanted to avoid that, but I guess there are lots of ways to do it, and everybody finds their own. Jérémy Clapin also had a set for I Lost My Body.

Anyway, we’re not interested in making a dead film. That’s what animation is all about, after all: give life to inanimate things.

Chiara Malta: In a way, I think that we looked for a place where Sébastien’s and my worlds could have a dialogue – animation and live-action – and the result is Linda. Live-action demands animation to be more flexible, whereas animation asks live-action for some more imagination.

“It’s a revolt, but a child-sized one”

Changing the subject, one thing that struck me is how the topic of the film – housing estates, the police, the diverse origins of people – resonated with current events in France. Notably the big riots that happened last year. I guess it doesn’t quite match with the production period, but did you have that kind of thing in mind?

Sébastien Laudenbach: Yes, sadly, it’s still very close to current events. We wrote the film a long time ago, and there are always riots in these kinds of suburbs…

We chose a different kind of suburb, though: it doesn’t happen close to Paris, but to a smaller town, something like Lorient, for instance. What mattered to us was that the children could be left to their own devices, take hold of the cité when the parents are gone demonstrating. The parents know they can leave the children on their own because everybody’s a bit protected in this kind of place. In the end, the children know the place better than the parents, who leave in the morning for work and only come back in the evening. So it’s not a problem estate, it’s just someplace between a small town and the countryside.

That thing with the farm was also important for us. Since the movie is aimed at a young audience, we wanted to show where the things we eat are from: a chicken comes from a farm, with a henhouse…

Chiara Malta: It’s a revolt, but a child-sized one. Of course, it makes you think of the riots: when the kids start wreaking havoc, we added the smoke from the peppers burning, it makes you think about Molotov cocktails, or we broke some windows, the children start running down and invading everything… That was clearly intentional.

But what’s really strange in all that is that the police comes in: there’s nothing that important going on. It’s just the theater of childhood, the way children revolt. It’s quite inoffensive. So when the fountain starts up and forces the policemen to leave, it’s all just like a fairy tale. You could say the film is closer to magical realism: things just don’t happen like that. The watermelons bounce like balls; the smoke becomes a huge fog… And at the same time, there’s a revolt that’s the same size as the children.

I can’t really tell why, but we thought that it was important to talk to children about that: about current society, even under the form of a fairy tale. You can talk about anything to children; you don’t have to go through superheroes, things happening in another world. Our own imagination has been fed by films that are a bit old – maybe we found less inspiration in current events. Of course, inflation and the climate played a role in Linda’s estate, but we voluntarily put in archives from strikes in the 60s. At the same time as current stuff: we mixed things up so that it feels like it could take place anywhere, anytime.

Next is the obvious question about the fact that it’s a film for children, and yet it’s about death and grief… I guess the audience is an important factor.

Chiara Malta: Children aren’t afraid of death. Adults are because they’re close to it, but for children, it’s so distant that you can talk about it very frankly. What creates angst and fear is lies. French author Daniel Pennac once said that children are fed with lies; they eat them like little birds eat worms – that’s something I think about a lot. Because we do feed a lot of lies to children, that’s what troubles them. We come up with tons of metaphors to say ‘death’, whereas we could say things much more simply – they’d understand.

I mean, children constantly try to understand reality, they have a lot more experience than adults. As you grow up, your brain kinda falls asleep. We think we understand everything, but children live in a world where they might understand only 1% of what’s going on. But it only goes up; they’re always living with things they don’t understand, so they’re thinking all the time. So in my mind, Linda’s a film you can watch as soon as you can see. Really small children will watch the colors, slightly older ones will understand parts of the story, and then some levels will only be understood by adults. But you don’t know if children won’t understand them either.

Sébastien Laudenbach: Also, very often, when we do screenings, some children see things the adults don’t. Especially with the colors and the fact that the chicken and Linda’s dad have the same color. It’s absolutely intentional, of course, the death of the chicken is the dad’s death – and the children notice that.

Chiara Malta: We really thought a lot about childhood. Because most of the time, when adults do movies for children, it’s just projections about childhood, what adults think children might like… But that only takes children for idiots – especially the acting. So, for us, it’s a way of taking children seriously to have characters speaking normally, sometimes using rude words. Why shouldn’t children see reality? That was the issue. I don’t have an answer, but I don’t think we hid reality from them: I believe children like the film, they understand it, it wasn’t made forbidden for them. But I don’t understand that you need an alternative reality when you’re talking to children – as if children weren’t in reality all the time!

Interview by Matteo Watzky & Lilo Chiche

Transcription by Emilia Hoarfrost

Translation & introduction by Matteo Watzky

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President of anime production company GENCO, Mr. Tarô Maki
“Film festivals are about meetings and discoveries” – Interview with Tarô Maki, Niigata International Animation Film Festival General Producer

“Film festivals are about meetings and discoveries” – Interview with Tarô Maki, Niigata International Animation Film Festival General Producer

As the representative director of planning company Genco, Tarô Maki has been a major figure in the Japanese animation industry for decades. This is due in no part to his role as a producer on some of anime’s greatest successes, notably in the theaters, with films...

Animation Business founder, journalist Tadashi Sudo
“The Niigata festival aims to include everything, from art to entertainment” – Tadashi Sûdo Interview

“The Niigata festival aims to include everything, from art to entertainment” – Tadashi Sûdo Interview

During our time at the second edition of the Niigata International Animation Film Festival, we had many encounters and reunions. Among those was Mr. Tadashi Sûdo, whom we were used to seeing at the Annecy Animation Festival. While maybe not well-known to the...

The resurrection of Science Fiction: Mars Express – Long Interview with Jérémy Perin

The resurrection of Science Fiction: Mars Express – Long Interview with Jérémy Perin

First with the Music Video Fantasy for DyE and then with Truckers Delight for Flairs, Jérémie Périn quickly made a name for himself and climbed to the top of the animation industry without compromising by working on commissioned films or in the shadow of a mentor....