The Summit of the Gods in the spotlight at Cartoon Movie
by Fabien Lemercier
- Produced by Julianne Films and written by Erri De Luca, the project adapting Jiro Taniguchi’s manga is one of the main attractions at the market
Among the 21 projects presented in the Concept category at the 17th edition of Cartoon Movie, which got under way in Lyon yesterday, The Summit of the Gods by Eric Valli and Jean-Christophe Roger is attracting a great deal of attention, and today’s screening of a teaser is generating a lot of anticipation among the professionals present.
Written by the Italian novelist Erri De Luca (who will be backed up by other co-screenwriters) and based on the manga of the same name by the renowned writer/artist Jiro Taniguchi (A Distant Neighbourhood) and Baku Yumemakura, the movie will tell the story of an inquiry into an expedition up Mount Everest on 8 June 1924. Did George Mallory die during his ascent, or while he was coming back down? Only his Kodak camera can uncover the truth. Seventy years later, Fukamachi, a young reporter, comes across a camera in a shop in Kathmandu, but it gets stolen, an event that thrusts him into a world of mountain-climbers obsessed by insurmountable challenges, a world in which he will be haunted by ghosts, will also find love and will finally be drawn towards the Summit of the Gods. Once there, he hopes to uncover the truth about Mallory’s fate and confront his own demons.
Jean-Charles Ostorero, the project head at Julianne Films, explains the origins of the project to Cineuropa: “I am a huge fan of both literature and mountaineering, so when I first discovered the manga, I immediately wanted to make an animated film out of it. I bought the rights and met up with Jiro Taniguchi, who turned out to really appreciate this attempt to make a fitting animated adaptation. Then I thought of Erri De Luca for the screenplay because I knew that he was just as much of a mountaineering nut and he knew the Himalayas really well. As regards the two directors, Eric Valli came on board the project very quickly: as a very young man, he had been dispatched by Paris Match to cover the main ascents in the Himalayas, and he ended up staying and living over there for 20 years. So he has an unparalleled knowledge of the places and the climbers’ body language. As for Jean-Christophe Roger (the director of Allez Raconte! [+see also:
film profile] – ed), who is married to a Japanese woman, he was brought on board by the producer, Didier Brunner; the latter wasted no time in expressing his interest in the project, and it’s obviously very rewarding to have someone like him involved, with all the experience he has in animation. Lastly, in terms of the decision to make the film in 3D, we had a lot of discussions about it, particularly with Mac Guff, which helped with the teaser that we’re going to show in Lyon. It won’t be in full 3D, but instead it’s an attractive way of allowing the breathtaking settings to make the highest possible impact, thus creating a huge adventure film, an incredible, epic voyage.”
Produced by Julianne Films, The Summit of the Gods can already count Folivari (France), Melusine Productions (Luxembourg) and Walking the Dog (Belgium) among its co-producers. The budget will fluctuate between €10 million and €12 million, and the project could go into production in 2016. And a good number of distributors are already eyeing it up...
(Translated from French)