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Lassie, the most famous dog in film history, is back on cinema screens!

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10 Days Without Mom.

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Exclusive interview with Iulian Grigoriu!

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Latte and the Magic Waterstone.

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Coming soon: After We Collided, the sequel to After!

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Hollywood Gossip, New Projects, First Looks.
in Interviews / 07.02.2020

Exclusive interview with Iulian Grigoriu: “Latte is a feel good movie, about friendship in the first place”

This weekend, Latte and the Magic Waterstone (directed by Mimi Maynard, Regina Welker) arrives in cinemas in Romania. On this occasion, we bring you an exclusive interview with Iulian Grigoriu, the Romanian who was animation director for this film.

How did you get to do what you do now? Working in this area of animation?
I always wanted to make cartoons. When I was a kid, on Saturdays, at the end of school, I was running home to see final minutes from the Gala Desenului Animat  (Cartoon Gala – a famous Romanian show in th '90s). Then they took me to the Doina cinema. (in the past a famous Romanian cinema where they running only family films and animations). It was like I arrived in the cartoon country.

They had wallpapers of animals from the jungle on the walls, it was a small room and somehow intimate, weekly program where you could find full-length movies that you would see on TV only in the parts of a few minutes a week. What can I say? It was fantastic!

I've been drawing since I was little, and even tried to be a serious artist and to focus on things with more weight, respectable but I failed. When I entered the high school of arts and saw that they had the animation section I had no doubt. I didn't have to choose between sections. Things were no longer the same at the academy where there was no animation section.

Animation was not an art there, so I choose graphics and painting which was very useful to me later. But not to dramatize. I had a nice chance to work at Animafilm since I was in high school. That was practically the time when I was really inoculated with the animation virus and I say this because during my student years I tried to do other jobs but I always went back to animation.

A friend of mine, Olimp Bandalac told me: "Once you have got the animation virus you will not escape". And so it is for most of us.

Then I worked through almost all the studios in Bucharest in the '90s. But as I was young, inexperienced, those years were pretty gray. In the late 90's, after finishing college, I went to Hungary and that was it. After a year my girlfriend from then came with me. She became my wife after a few years.

What does the job of animation director and supervisor mean?
This position is a very responsible one and quite difficult from several points of view. Job descriptions can be found on the net but I tell you what it means to me and how I relate to this position. First of all you have to be an animator yourself. Only this way you can help where it is needed.

Every time I start a new movie I try to document myself as much as possible. What is the original story behind the script. Who are my directors, possibly the producers. After that I try to understand as best I can the script and the characters in the film. The deeper I get into the story, the better I realize the subtleties and layers of the film.

From here I start to have discussions with the director (the directors in this case of Latte) and to deepen the story and the characters. What kind of acting we need, as well as in what sense to exaggerate etc. Once it is clear to me what the directors want, I start working on the animation style, find a rhythm of the film, look for references by actors to help the animator understand the character.

Many times I even make a database representing what kind of expressions should be used and the limits of deformations. I can usually select the team after tests or portfolios. Once the team or teams are chosen, I usually do an acting workshop on the characters in the movie. I'm trying to make the animators understand why character X is moving like this and why it has to be different from other characters.

How a character evolves during the film and how important it is to animate as much as needed and where needed. Only then do I begin to talk about each sequence and each scene. If the animation is not correct I send additional drawings to the frame where something needs to be changed. As a simple supervisor the work is a little simpler, having to follow the instructions of the animation director.

How long have you been working as animation director and supervisor?
I think I started in 2009 or 2010 with a famous series in Germany. A production for preschoolers called Kikaninchen, a position assumed by Anca starting with season 2, becoming "kikaninchen's mother" over a few years.That's how they called it in Mitteldeutsche Zeitung in an article about the series. In the meantime, I started working on the first feature film as animation director in Belgium.

There I had the “baptism of fire”. We were working on a big film, produced in Paris and we had to send weekly a fixed number of seconds to a quality that we had not worked before. I learned a lot and realized that I still have a lot of work to do. It was a good school.

I know that before you settled in Germany you had a period when you also worked in Hungary? How was that experience?
In Hungary were the years of my growing up professionally or at least the beginning of them. We went through some experiences and we had the chance to qualify professionally, being forced to keep the deadlines, doing a large volume of animation and doing many tests. It was a good school.

You have worked on many successful animated films. What project do you keep closely to your heart and why?
I can't say I liked one movie... it's like asking a parent which of the children is dearer to him. I mean a good parent :-) Each production is different, and has its problems and solutions. Teams often differ completely. For example, now we are working on a new film by Enzo Dálo. For me 90-95% of the team is new. We will have first and foremost many young animators who will need a lot of advice. It will be fun and very interesting of course but it will be also a new adventure from which I will learn a lot.

Who has influenced you the most in your career?
Work in the studio. I learned a lot by watching a lot of movies and here I mention that not only animation and not only American. I read a lot and try to document myself a lot. BUT! I happen to work with people who are really big names in the field and and I can learn a lot from them.

I learned from Tahsin Özgür who animated for Disney in a few big movies. Another name that inspired me through the vitality of work and professionalism is Jesper Moller and in the last year and something I have worked and still work with Daniel St. Pierre from which I learned many details that you can not find in books. Of course, I learned something from each film I worked on and there are several names that influenced my evolution whether or not I was aware of it.

How much does working on a European animation differ from one for a larger studio? The difference is only about money, or also involves more special technology?
This is a good question :-) First and foremost, in Europe, there are increasingly competitive productions, by American standards. The only problem is the budget of the film. The bigger the budget, the more time you have to work on story, design, style, animation, effects, light... etc. The last film I worked on and we hope to release this year is an India-China co-production and is at a high standard. Here I worked hard on the quality of the animation and it will feel.

In 2019 you worked on the animation Latte & the Magic Waterstone as animation director. Can you tell me how you got to work on this project?
I first saw the trailer on the net. It was kind of love at first sight. I knew I could do a lot with a character like Latte. About 7-8 months, when I was approaching the final production of that time (Marnie’s World or Spy Cat) I announced online that I will be free of contract.

Then I received an email from a Belgian colleague from the production company if it is ok to recommend me to the German producer of Latte Igel. Do you realize that I was flying on a cloud and seeing the city from above :-) I said yes, I was contacted and that was it.

How did you work with directors Regina Welker and Nina Wels?
The collaboration with these two beautiful ladies was extraordinary. And I'm not exaggerating. I anchored Latte's acting based on the personality or the way Regina moves. The funny thing is that she says she moves the same way I do but you should see her. He is an animated character full of energy and humor.

After we had our first Skype talk, I was a little scared that we didn't quite understand about the message of the movie. That was my impression and I don't think it was that way, but I'm an emotional guy, so I belived that.

It was only when we met face-to-face in the studio I realized how they are and what they want… we started to know each other and actually worked on the construction of the film. We made many ideas exchanges and sometimes we argued about things, but in a constructive way, and all of that practically served to raise the quality of the film.

Nina helped me a lot with the team from Ludwigsburg and Halle / Saale, I also had to work in India. We had a total of 4 teams and fortunately all were talented and motivated.

Prorom will release on February 7 in Romanian cinemas Latte & the Magic Waterstone. Do you have a special message for the spectators who are going to see it?
Latte
is a feel good movie, about friendship in the first place. You may be surprised that the story will catch you and you won't know when the time has passed. I just hope you like it as much as we liked to create it and bring it to the cinema. I look forward to the reaction of the Romanian audience.

Interview by Emanuel Lăzărescu.




in Events / 27.01.2020

Gala Premiere for Song of Names in Hungary

The Song of Names, the new movie by director François Girard starring Tim Roth and Clive Owen had a Gala Premiere in Hungary on 21st of January, in Urania Cinema.

Over 250 Guest were present at this event, hosted by the famous Dorka Gyarfas. Among the guests there was the producer Robert Lantos who welcomed the guests with a few words about the movie and its creation.

Several famous Hungarian movie industry related people were present at this event, for example Kristóf Deák who is an Oscar-winner director or Csaba Káel - the Hungarian film director, CEO of Müpa Budapest and CEO of the National Film Institute Hungary.

One of the actors / musicians from the movie - Zoltán Schwarz (violin) took the stage and performed a song from the movie.

After the screening there were some interviews and an afterparty for the crew and the celebrities present at this event.

The Song of Names (titled in Hungary A nevek dala) will have its premiere in Hungary on 6th of February, distributed by Big Bang Media – A Prorom Company.

Foto (left to right): Tibor Krsko (Businessman), Robert Lantos (Producer of the movie) and Csaba Káel (CEO of the National Film Institute Hungary).




in Hollywood / 19.06.2019

Two new posters for The Hummingbird Project

Two new posters for The Hummingbird Project surface, announcing the release of the movie in Australia.

Jesse Eisenberg and an almost unrecognizable Alexander Skarsgård play cousins Vincent and Anton Zalesky in acclaimed director Kim Nguyen's The Hummingbird Project.

Cousins from New York, Vincent (Jesse Eisenberg) and Anton (Alexander Skarsgård) are players in the high-stakes game of High-Frequency Trading, where winning is measured in milliseconds. Their dream? To build a straight fiber-optic cable line between Kansas and New Jersey, making them millions. But nothing is straightforward for this flawed pair.

Constantly breathing down their necks is their former boss Eva Torres (Salma Hayek), a powerful, intoxicating and manipulative trader who will stop at nothing to come between them and beat them at their own game.

Directed by Kim Nguyen, The Hummingbird Project stars Jesse Eisenberg, Alexander Skarsgård and Salma Hayek.

The Hummingbird Project had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2018, and was the opening gala at the Vancouver International Film Festival later that month.

Recently The Hummingbird Project won at Canadian Screen Awards the Award for Achievement in Overall Sound (Pierre Mertens, Thomas Gauder, Alexis Oscari).

Prorom released The Hummingbird Project in Hungary on April 4.





in Interviews / 17.05.2019

Interview with Elodie Fontan: “I've been a fan of Nicky Larson since I was little”

Élodie Fontan was born on July 9, 1987 in Bondy, Seine-Saint-Denis, France. She is an actress who appeared in more than fifteen television and film productions since 1996.

Élodie Fontan started very young in French commercials for Nissan, Quick and Euro Disney. She gained notoriety in 2009 by playing Alyzée, Clem's best friend, in the Clem series, broadcast on TF1.

Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon (Nicky Larson and Cupid's Perfume) is a name of the latest French action comedy directed by Philippe Lacheau in wich Élodie Fontan appears alongside Philippe Lacheau, Tarek Boudali, Julien Arruti and Pamela Anderson.

It is an adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series City Hunter (known as Nicky Larson in France) by Tsukasa Hojo.

Nicky Larson is the best bodyguard, an outstanding private investigator. He is called for a high-risk mission: to recover the Perfume of Cupid, a perfume that would make irresistible the one who uses it.

This weekend, in Romania, Prorom and Ro Image will release the comedy Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon, and we invite you to read an interview with the leading actress Élodie Fontan.

How did you feel when Philippe Lacheau came up with the idea of making a movie about Nicky Larson?
I remember that moment: I was on the train in a promotional tour for Babysitting 2. Like the boys, I've been a fan of Nicky Larson since I was little, and this idea seemed great to me, though none of us had any idea if we could get the rights. Especially because I did not know if I would have a role in the movie or not…

How did you imagine Laura?
I had a strong attachment to this character. The challenge was to make her realistic - which is not always easy with the manga characters, because of their gestures, while preserving the characteristics of his character. Laura is an impulsive girl, she has a very tough face, but at the same time she's very protective with Nicky, she's taking care of him. So she is very calm and she manages a lot of things, but she can also be crazy. Finally, it was nice to interpret all these different emotions. Besides, this is the first time I played such a character, and it was very dear to me.

Did you made some researched for this character?
Before I started the project, I rewatched most of the animated episodes and I never missed Laura's look: on stage, during lunch breaks or makeup. I was happy to go back to an episode every time to find the right tone or mimic of my character.


What instructions did Philippe Lacheau give you?
He wanted Laura to be faithful to the manga series, but to adapt her to me, so that she would remain credible. Because people who do not know Nicky Larson's world to appreciate it and understand her, she does not have to be too crazy. And Philippe and I made sure she never became annoying.

What she "borrowed" from you?
I gave her some gentleness. I wanted her to be very loving and very protective with Nicky, probably more than in the animated series. Actually, I think I softened her and made her more balanced.

Did you like the idea that she would bring emotion to the movie?
What I liked above all was to have a character in my hands that allowed me to use my all acting skills. Through her I could go from comedy to drama or anger, and that's a gift for an actor. I remember when I read the script, the scene where Laura understands that Nicky is sacrificing for her touched me a lot, and I can hardly wait to play it. But seeing it, I think it's actually a beautiful sequence that brings a lot of emotions and a different tone. The film is very rich, there is action, comedy, laughter, emotions, and that's also the memory I keep from the cartoon.

How did you prepare for action scenes?
I've been boxing for a long time, and I have always dreamed that this discipline would serve me in cinematography one day. That's why, when the guys wrote the script, I suggested that they include battle sequences with Laura.

Did it take long before you found Laura's look?
No, it was pretty fast, it came naturally. The costume designers knew Nicky Larson's world very well, and we had the same ideas for Laura's character. We wanted to be as loyal as possible, giving her a touch of modernity. The capillary part was a little more delicate, it was necessary to find the right color, the good haircut, which was far from me! I knew hair was important for the character, but I think the bet was a winning one, since I was asked during the promotion tour if I really cut my hair…


This duo with Philippe has brought you closer to him?
Surely. We worked long before the shooting and I knew exactly the direction we wanted to take. Nicky Larson is the third collaboration between us, and from one movie to another, we are naturally more "closer" on the screen. The other actors were the same: we are all very close, we see each other a lot outside the set and the more we work together, the more the automatisms are triggered. But Philippe is quite efficient because he knows what he wants, how to pass on his ideas and how to take us where he wants.

What is the most beautiful memory from the shooting of the movie?
The scene in the factory where there is a general fight will be memorable. Very strict shooting times put us under great pressure, because we could not overcome them, and the filming program was so busy that sometimes wondered how we could shoot all the sequences in a single day. So we were a little tense, especially Philippe, but it's a beautiful sequence, worthy of an American action movie!

What was your reaction when you saw the movie?
I was very proud, because I can say that so far this is my best role and my best film. The bet was not obvious from the start, but it proved to be a success. Besides, I was amazed by the music, extremely well chosen, by the direction, by the editing ... Regarding the actors, we were all very happy to make this movie and I think that's is something that you see on the screen.

Interview by Clara Géliot.




in Interviews / 13.05.2019

Interview with actor and director Philippe Lacheau: “Nicky Larson was one of my favorite animated series”

Philippe Lacheau was born on June 25, 1980 in Fontenay-sous-Bois, Val-de-Marne, France. He is an actor, writer and director, known for Babysitting (2014), Babysitting 2 (2015) and Alibi.com (2017).

Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon (Nicky Larson and Cupid's Perfume) is a name of the latest French action comedy directed by Philippe Lacheau who also co-wrote the screenplay with Julien Arruti and Pierre Lacheau.

It is an adaptation of the Japanese manga and anime series City Hunter (known as Nicky Larson in France) by Tsukasa Hojo.

The film features Philippe Lacheau, Élodie Fontan, Tarek Boudali and Julien Arruti in lead roles, along with Didier Bourdon, Kamel Guenfoud, Sophie Mousel, Hélène Lamberti and Pamela Anderson in supporting roles.

Nicky Larson is the best bodyguard, an outstanding private investigator. He is called for a high-risk mission: to recover the Perfume of Cupid, a perfume that would make irresistible the one who uses it.

This weekend, in Romania, Prorom and Ro Image will release the comedy Nicky Larson et le Parfum de Cupidon and we invite you to read an interview with the actor and director Philippe Lacheau.

How did you come up with the idea of adapting Nicky Larson for the cinema?
I belong to the club generation Club Dorothée and Nicky Larson, who landed on French television in the 90s, was one of my favorite animated series because it was a real comedy. There was also action, police investigations, love stories, but it was especially funny. Nicky, beyond making me laugh, is the best in everything he undertakes: it's both a detective, a bodyguard, a lovelace... the James Bond of comedy in short. Unconsciously, it was therefore a kid's dream to embody the hero of my childhood in the cinema.

Have you acquired the rights easily?
Not at all! It was a very long process. We got some help from Stephane Huard, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment France, who through their American and Japanese studio affiliates has allowed us to meet manga creator Tsukasa Hojo. Prior to granting our rights, the Japanese author asked for a right to read the script. After eighteen months of writing, I went to meet him, with my manuscript under my arm, full of fears. After 48 hours, the verdict came: he liked it! I was very happy because he found that the script was loyal to his manga creations, and he made the most beautiful compliment I could ever get from him -- that he would have himself invented this original story.


How was the writing process?
In order to perfectly absorb the universe of Nicky Larson, Julien Arruti, my brother, Pierre Lacheau, Pierre Dudan and myself (the same team from Babysitting) we analyzed 144 episodes of the animated series that were broadcast in France and reread 37 numbers of manga. But I also saw the various adaptations that have been made abroad, including a Chinese movie with Jackie Chan. It was important to see everything to refresh our memories, we had to recover the tone to write. The most important thing was to keep the universe and the characters.
So I found the idea of a quest around Cupid's perfume, a perfume that has the power to make you irresistible. But the real challenge was to attract all the new generation that follows us from Babysitting, but who does not know Nicky Larson. This required a lot of rewriting.

Why is this movie a very personal one?
He sends me back to my childhood. Maybe that's why this is the movie that I'm the most proud of, because everything that comes to this moment of my life is sacred. I was fortunate enough to enjoy the moments when Dorothee (the one who made the Club Dorothee show in France in the '90s) was on our movie set, and I watched her with a child's eyes, reminding me of the show we enjoyed in our youth. It was as if I had met a friend I had not seen for many years. Moreover, it is personal because it brings together my friends, my parents, who appear in the movie, and the names of the characters are sometimes borrowed from relatives.

How did you prepare to become Nicky Larson?
I was so motivated that I exercise for eight months with diets and training, and  I put 8 kg of muscle. In parallel, I worked diligently for choreography of the action scenes, I learned how to shoot with a Magnum gun, machine guns and other heavy weapons, then I dyed my hair. I remember the day the costume handed me Nicky's outfit: seeing me in his blue coat, his red shirt and his black pants made me feel very excited.

Was it from the beginning the idea to work with the same team again?
This is a question I cannot answer. It was an incredible opportunity to work with my friends and, as long as the public follows us, we will continue. This is an incredible luxury and it's great to see that from one movie to another some actors such as Didier Bourdon, Chantal Ladesou and Gérard Jugnot follow us and the “band” grows.

Newcomers immediately joined Nicky Larson's world?
It was interesting because, unlike some "special guests" like Audrey Lamy, Raphaël Personnaz or Jarry, who knew the animated series, the others had not heard of him. But they immediately found him funny, and they followed me with the same enthusiasm. It is fortunate that all these actors have joined us for one or two days because the scenes in which they appear have a size much higher than the scenario indicated. For them it may not have been a lot, but to me it was a lot.