Ari Folman, the Academy Award-nominated director of the 2008 film Waltz with Bashir, is completing production of an animated film on the life of Anne Frank.
Details of the upcoming feature film, titled Where is Anne Frank? were unveiled last week at the Cartoon Movie forum in France. Variety reported on Monday that a session on the animated movie was one of the most attended overall at the industry gathering.
At the event, Folman explained that he was originally reluctant to tell the story through animation because of its dark psychological themes, according to Variety. To overcome that, he said, he decided to tell the story through the eyes of “Kitty,” Frank’s imaginary friend, to whom she addressed her diary entries.
In the film,Variety reported, Kitty wakes up in modern times, and imagines that if she’s alive, Anne must be as well, and so she sets out to find her.According to Animation Magazine, Folman said that he first thought about the film after he reread Frank’s original diary for the first time in decades. He and illustrator David Polonsky recently turned the diary into a graphic novel, published in collaboration with the Anne Frank Fonds Foundation.
“I hadn’t read the diary since I was 14,” Folman said, according to the magazine. The filmmaker said he spoke to his Holocaust survivor mother – who is currently 96 – about making the movie, and she said: “‘If you do decide to do this movie, I will live for the premiere whenever that may be.’ So I decided to do it because I want her to live to be at least 100!”
The film began production last year in Folman’s animation studio in Jaffa, and was created in partnership with production houses in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and the Netherlands.
According to Animation Magazine, Folman said the 92-minute film has been completed and the voices have been recorded in English.
Folman said he agreed to do the film under two conditions, according to the magazine.
“That I will make it an animated film for young children, because my kids will never read a 360-page diary,” he said. “The other was to look at what happened to Anne after the family was caught in the secret annex. It was a big challenge because nobody knows what really happened. So the solution was to tell the story from her point of view of Kitty, her imaginary friend.”