Indian filmmaker Ishan Shukla is currently filming the motion capture of his debut animated feature ‘SCHIRKOA’ in Angoulême, France – the capital of comics and visual arts aka the “City of Image” because it hosts the International Comics Festival every year and is also the home of 40 animation and video game studios that produce half of France’s animated production.
An Indo-French co-production between Ishan Shukla’s animation studio Red Cigarette Media and Paris-based production company Dissidenz Films, in partnership with Rapid Eye Movies from Germany, ‘SCHIRKOA’ has received the support of CNC Cinémas du Monde and German region NordRhein Westfalen (NRW) as well as a grant from 2D/3D character creation and animation software developer Reallusion, and above all the coveted Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games, which supports ‘SCHIRKOA”s innovative pipeline based on Unreal Engine.
Voice over actors include Golshifteh Farahani (‘About Elly’, ‘Paterson’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’), Asia Argento (‘Scarlet Diva’, ‘Transylvania’, ‘The Last Mistress’), Soko (‘Augustine’, ‘The Dancer’, ‘A Good Man’), Arish Ahmad Khan aka King Khan (frontman of Berlin-based garage rock and psychedelic soul band King Khan and the Shrines) and Denzil Smith (‘Tenet’, ‘Delhi Crime’, ‘Photograph’, ‘The Lunchbox’) while Shahbaz Sarwar and Tibu Fortes will be making their film debut in the lead role. France-based Argentinian director Gaspar Noe, Indian actor-musician Piyush Mishra, and Filipino helmer Lav Diaz will also appear as VO guest stars.
The soundtrack will be composed by Sneha Khanwalkar – best known for her score for the film ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ (Part 1 & Part 2) – and will include music pieces from King Khan, Saba Lou and more.
‘I met Ishan at 2019 NFDC Film Bazaar in Goa, says Bich-Quan Tran, and I was instantly mesmerized by his slyly political, poetically witty and casually philosophical universe enhanced by powerful visuals. For me it was way beyond an animated feature film: it is pure cinema. It is a visionary maverick gem with both a unique style and universal themes about diversity, power and self-awareness. It is ultimately a reflective story about what kind of society we want to live in with a high entertainment value. ‘SCHIRKOA’ resonates with contemporary anxieties while combining the ability to create humor in the most serious of situations and therefore addresses a broad audience.
‘SCHIRKOA’ will be brought to life through a unique style blending 2D and 3D animation techniques: ‘For me animation amalgamates absurdity and fantasy in a provocative manner while still keeping the visual poetry and human moments intact. Apart from cultures and languages, SCHIRKOA is also an amalgamation of medium, genres and techniques.’ says Shukla.
The film aims at a delivery in Q1 2023.
Click here to read Variety’s Exclusive!