Renner Talks Ernest & Celestine


Ernest & Celestine from Gkids is certainly gaining momentum on its way to a possible Oscar nomination: it was voted best animated feature by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and has garnered Annie noms. And why not? It’s a gentle and whimsical French/Belgian film about the forbidden friendship between a grumpy, musical bear (Lambert Wilson) and a sensitive, artistic mouse (Pauline Brunner). I spoke with co-director Benjamin Renner about his debut feature and collaborating with Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar (A Town Called Panic).

At first, Renner didn’t even intend to direct the adaptation of the beloved children’s books by the late Gabrielle Vincent. But after being approached by producer Didier Brunner (The Triplets of Belleville) to work on the graphic development and then delving into animation, later on they needed a director and it turned out to be a good fit, especially after they managed to house the animation and backgrounds in one studio in Paris instead of splitting it up (sound was done in Belgium and compositing in the South of France).

“I loved the minimalist style of the drawings, and when we started adapting we did something quite different,” suggests Renner, who, appropriately enough, previously made the short, A Mouse’s Tail (watch below). ”The screenwriter, Daniel Pennac, didn’t want to make the books because they were too soft, so we came up with a back world where bears hate mice and they can’t live together. So he wanted to have tension and also this dream relationship between the bear and the mouse. So I thought it was very smart. He was paying tribute to her by constructing more.

Read the rest at Animation Scoop/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Books, Clips, Movies, Tech, Trailers

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