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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Italy / India / Ireland

Animated flick Bartali’s Bicycle in the works

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- Legendary road cyclist Gino Bartali has become the inspiration for a new Italian-Indian-Irish animated co-production, set for a release in early 2023

Animated flick Bartali’s Bicycle in the works

Italian legendary road cyclist Gino Bartali has become the inspiration for a new 2D animated feature, titled Bartali’s Bicycle. Targeted at the 7+ and family audiences, the flick is set in the Middle East and follows two young boys from rival communities who are brought together by their shared love for cycling. The movie’s theme is woven around Bartali’s awe-inspiring services for Holocaust victims during World War II, when the athlete saved many Jewish lives during the Nazi occupation of Italy by concealing their documents in his bicycle. The story begins sixty years later, when Bartali’s bicycle becomes the tool and symbol of victory for David, a smart and sensitive Jewish boy. David accepts the challenge of winning a cycling championship together with his Arab friend Ibrahim, violating rules but making peace and tolerance triumph between their communities. 

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The film’s creative team includes Enrico Paolantonio (the animated series The Extraordinary Adventures of Jules Verne and Egyxos) at the helm and Sabrina Callipari serving as the head of production. The original idea is by the late Roman writer Israel Cesare Moscati (Giulio Base’s A Starry Sky Above the Roman Ghetto [+see also:
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), who also developed the screenplay along with Marco Beretta (the animated series Foot 2 Rue Extreme). Italian comic book artist Corrado Mastantuono handles the character designs for the project, with illustrator Andrea Pucci working as the background artist and Valentina Mazzola in charge of the script editing.

The development, pre-production and picture post-production will be led by Lynx Studio in Italy, whilst the animation production will be completed by India’s Toonz Studios. Final backgrounds and sound post-production will be carried out at Emmy Award-winning Irish studio and Toonz group company Telegael, which will also handle some elements of pre-production.

Speaking about the project, Toonz Media Group’s CEO P. Jayakumar, said: “Bartali’s Bicycle is a story that will resonate with audiences all across the world. It is exactly the kind of story that Toonz is committed to relate to the younger generation.”

Bartali’s Bicycle is set for release in early 2023. It will be distributed in Italy by RAI with Toonz and Rome-based outfit TVCO responsible for its worldwide distribution. Commenting on the acquisition, TVCO’s CEO Vincenzo Mosca said: “I am proud to collaborate with Toonz, such a prestigious brand in animation. It is the first cooperation of this kind between our two companies. Bartali’s Bicycle is a story of human endurance and trust that has deep and distant roots in the true story of the rescue of hundreds of Jews during the German occupation in Italy by a cycling legend: Gino Bartali. We look forward to bringing this animated movie to the world market and contributing to making that story known to all worldwide.”

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