Meet the people
breathing life into Elena
Sarah Wayne Callies
Sarah Wayne Callies needs no introduction, having made an indelible impression on audiences worldwide by portraying complex and unique women. Most notably, she starred as ‘Lori Grimes’ in AMC’s critically acclaimed series, “The Walking Dead” and as Dr. Sara Tancredi in Fox’s international hit drama “Prison Break.”
Always furthering her work as an artist, Sarah recently assumed a new challenge with the animated adaptation of the children’s book "Elena’s Serenade". Recognizing first-hand that actors are often some of the last components considered in the development of a story, Sarah began writing several years ago in order to become part of the storytelling process from early on, and to participate not only in how stories are told but also which stories are told.
Sarah’s work is motivated by the opportunity to fully explore multidimensional female characters and to give them a louder voice. In addition to "Elena’s Serenade", Sarah currently has scripts in development with Valhalla Pictures and The Story Factory.
Still equally passionate for her acting career, Sarah recently wrapped production of “This Is Your Death,” starring opposite Josh Duhamel. The film is a dark satirical look at American reality television and fame-obsessed culture. She also starred in “The Other Side of the Door,” written and directed by Johannes Roberts for Twentieth Century Fox. The film was shot on location in Mumbai, India and will open in February 2016.
Sarah will next be seen on television starring in USA’s highly anticipated drama “Colony” opposite Josh Holloway premiering January 16th.
Director Guillaume Ivernel began his career as a creative director and production designer, where he developed a keen sense of visual style working on dozens of advertisements, music videos and television series. A fated encounter with internationally revered French cartoonist Moebius led the pair to dive into development on a film project together, and ultimately led Ivernel to discover his incredible passion for animated storytelling.
In 2008, Ivernel captivated animation fans everywhere with "Dragon Hunters", the film he co-directed with Arthur Qwak. A groundbreaking release, "Dragon Hunters" was only the fourth French animation film ever created at the time. He has since produced and directed a diverse canon of work that includes "Soulman". Most recently, Ivernel acted as Artistic Producer for the animated French film, "Ballerina".
A self-proclaimed child at heart, Ivernel has always been an ardent fan of children’s movies and books, and was immediately drawn to the vibrant Mexican setting and poetic storytelling of Elena’s Serenade. As a father himself, Ivernel was struck by the father-daughter relationship within the story, and became immediately determined to bring that meaningful connection to life onscreen.
Valérie started out her career in animation in 1991, first as an assistant before quickly becoming an animation designer. Specializing in character design, she joined Ellipse studios (Canal+) where she contributed to the television series "The Adventures of Tintin", and in 1995 "Orson et Olivia". Since then, her extensive résumé includes over 40 television series and 4 major feature films including "Dragon Hunters" in 2008 where this time around she sculpted the main characters to facilitate their transition into full 3D animated heroes.
Closely collaborating with Guillaume Ivernel, Valerie is responsible for the creation and design of each character and creature within the film. She draws each and everyone of them entirely by hand.
Besides her career in animation, Valérie is also an esteemed sculptor and regularly showcases her art in exhibitions in France and worldwide.
Tony Sandoval is an illustrator and graphic novel author who has become a vital force within the Mexican comics industry. His signature poetic style channels the dark confusion of childhood with certain fluidity, magical creations tinted by a nightmarish aspect where life mingles closely with death.
Born in Northwestern Mexico in 1973, Tony worked professionally as a graphic designer in several local agencies before committing to his career as a comic book artist. His graphic novels were met with great success as his signature design intertwined perfectly with fantastical, romanticized storylines.
His books “El Cadáver y el Sofá” and “Nocturno 1 & 2" are now considered classics in the comic book genre. Tony Sandoval’s pictorial work represents a new wave of exceptionally talented graphic novel artists who have secured an undeniable role in today’s contemporary art landscape.
As reviewed in the Figaro, one of France’s most esteemed newspapers: “Tony Sandoval’s talent is without a doubt a force to be reckoned with...The comic book author marks each of his series with his unique signature, charmingly strange yet poetic. In this regard “Doomboy” has reached it’s peak…A great success.”
FullDawa Films is an award-winning production company which has been ‘crashing the party’ ever since its inception in Paris, France in 2007. Founders David Atrakchi, Gaël Cabouat and Boris Mendza consistently strive to push the boundaries of storytelling by focusing on up-and-coming filmmakers with original talent combined with a strong visual style. They also pride themselves on their solid experience, teamwork and long-lasting relationships with their directors.
Driven by expertise, eclecticism and unflaggingly high standards, FullDawa Films opened itself up to the international market in 2013 with the co-production of Israël Horowitz’s first feature film, "My Old Lady,” starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. And just recently, in 2015, they partnered with Parts and Labor for the production of the American film "Frank & Lola" directed by Matthew Ross. The film, starring Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots, will be premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
Beyond the two motion pictures, FullDawa Films has produced over 40 short movies and approximately 75 web films and music videos, successfully proving they are a force to be reckoned with within the French film industry. Aiming to capitalize on their European success and fueled by their ever-expanding creative vision, they have now set up office in Los Angeles. The brand new North American division is headed by equally disruptive EP and partner Jouri Smit.
FullDawa Films offers the gamut of creative production, from cultivating new directorial talent, to developing and handling complete production services for shorts, features, and international film projects.
Launched in Paris in 1996, animation studio Toutenkartoon opened another branch in Montreal only two years later. With one foot firmly planted in Europe and yet another in North America, Toutenkartoon offers complete digital animation services spanning from production, 2D/3D animation, set design, compositing as well as the whole spectrum of post production including editorial, color correction, sound design and mix.
Toutenkartoon has participated in numerous productions over the past few years, including: "Le Magasin des Suicides" (The Suicide Shop), by Patrice Leconte, "The Little Prince", by Mark Osborne and "Avril et le Monde Truqué" (April and the Rigged World), by Christian Desmares and Frank Ekinci, adapted from the graphic novel of Jacques Tardi.
Daughter of the celebrated Alain Derobe, sole inventor of the 3D Natural Depth Method otherwise known as the “Derobe Method”, Joséphine Derobe is a specialist and all around reference concerning 3D and all things stereoscopy: a specific technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image.
In the last ten years, she has worked as a 3D consultant and stereographer for many French and European films including Wim Wenders’ most recent feature films: "Pina", "Cathedrals of Culture", "Everything Will be Fine" and the upcoming "The Beautiful Days of Aranjuez".
When she’s not giving lectures or animating 3D workshops, Josephine develops her own artistic projects. She has written and directed two multi-awarded 3D animated short films , "Diary of a Fridge" (2011) and "Forget me Not" (2013) and conceived two critically acclaimed 3D art installations Another Window and Triple Effect.
For "Elena’s Serenade" Josephine will be the film’s director of stereoscopy, supervising all scenic and depth-related techniques throughout the entire production up until the final 3D calibration phase.
Les Androids Associés
Androids Associés, founded in 2010, is a Paris-based company specialized in computer-generated images and specifically, in the previsualization (previs) of special effects for moving pictures. Their impressive catalogue includes an array of feature films (Soulman, directed by Guillaume Ivernel), commercials (Perrier, Nissan, Winamax, Dior), games (Strike Vector) and animatics (Dove, Allianz, Kellogg’s, Nestle).
A previs, or rough version of a sequence or entire film, enables directors to explore multiple creative ideas in pre-production, especially in 3D, without the constraints or expense of a complex shoot or a large animation team. Androids Associés has developed their own tools to quickly produce any kind of shot and will be working closely with Guillaume and Joséphine for the pilot of Elena’s Serenade. Their involvement will allow us to find, or even invent, the perfect combination of techniques to tell its wonderful story therefore making sure the final delivery fully realizes Guillaume Ivernel’s vision.
Diane Launier holds a unique place in the animation world, with the opening of the gallery Arludik in Paris in 2003, along with her husband Jean-Jacques Launier. Arludik was the first gallery of its kind, exclusively dedicated to the showcasing and selling of original drawings from graphic novels, video games, mangas, animated films and live action features.
In 2005, Diane and Jean-Jacques curated the Miyazaki-Moebius exhibition in Paris which drew more than 100,000 visitors in three months, after which they set up various exhibitions across France displaying artwork from Ice Age and Lord of the Rings.
The growing success of Arludik gallery led to the opening in 2013 of the Art Ludique Museum, steered by Diane. The Museum opened its doors with the exhibition “Pixar: 25 years of animation”, followed by “The Art of the Marvel Super Heroes”, “Ghibli Studio Layout Designs” and “The Art of Video Games: French inspiration”, to name just a few.
Well-acquainted with today’s key players within the animation industry, Diane personally cherry-picked the perfect family that would help Sarah bring the feature film Elena’s Serenade to life.
A gentle yet expansive spirit pervades all the music of Mirabai Ceiba. The delicate sounds of harp, piano, and guitar blend with lovingly intertwined voices amid lush celestial soundscapes.
Mirabai Ceiba is a duo consisting of guitarist/singer Markus Sieber and singer/harpist/pianist Angelika Baumbach. They come from different parts of the world. Markus is East German. Angelika was born in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up in a small village near Mexico City, the daughter of a Mexican mother and German father.
They first met at a street fair at Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and quickly fell in love. The newly formed couple decided to create a music project together and share with the world uplifting music steeped in spirituality, tenderness and beauty.
FullDawa’s invitation to join Elena’s family couldn’t have come at a better time. The duo had been dreaming about having their music serve such a poetic purpose and they relate to Elena’s universe through their deep connection to Mexico, its culture, its people, its art and heart… As well as through their daughters.
"Elena’s journey conveys a powerful message, extending to all the children in the world, encouraging them to always believe in their dreams and persevere."