Originality wins the day, as Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s unusual animated feature “Anomalisa
,” aimed at adults, cut a festival swath from Venice to Telluride to Toronto, where it was surprisingly snapped up by Paramount Pictures. The studio, which has done well with unconventional animated features such as “South Park: The Musical” and western “Rango,” will release the film December 30 in NY and LA, just in time for awards consideration. The studio has a slim 2015/2016 slate.
The stop-motion film, which took three years to make and was partly funded by Kickstarter, will next show at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas and at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
READ MORE: ‘Anomalisa’ review here, Venice awards here.
“The film is a spectacular achievement of artistry,” said Paramount chairman and CEO Brad Grey. “Charlie is a filmmaker of immense vision and craft and he and Duke have created a film that stands alone as one of the year’s best.”
This darkly funny and sweet dreamscape tells the story of family man and author Michael Stone (“How May I Help You Help Them?”), who is crippled by his mundane existence. On a business trip to Cincinnati he finds a possible escape via Lisa, a baked goods sales rep. The voice cast includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Noonan and David Thewlis and a strings score by Carter Burwell.
The films is a Starburns Industries, Snoot Entertainment production, and is produced by Rosa Tran, Johnson, Kaufman, and Dino Stamatopoulos. The film is executive produced by James A. Fino, Dan Harmon, Joe Russo II, Keith Calder, Jessica Calder, Aaron Mitchell, Kassandra Mitchell, Pandora Edmiston, David Fuchs, Simon Ore, David Rheingold, and Adrian Versteegh.
Another TIFF pickup in the works is A24’s acquisition of North American rights to Patricia Rozema’s survival drama “Into the Forest,” starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood as two sisters trying to survive off the grid. A24 is having a good festival, as “Room” is building strong awards buzz.