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Sébastien Laudenbach Helming ‘Carmen’ at Folivari

The Annecy Crystal-winning ‘Chicken for Linda!’ director has joined the 2D feature film adaptation of the classic opera, currently in development, set for theatrical release in 2026, with Film Constellation now handling sales. 

Carmen, a contemporary 2D animated feature adaptation of the classic opera, is now in development, with 2023 Annecy Crystal winner Sébastien Laudenbach (Chicken for Linda!) directing, according to Variety. French animation studio Folivari (The Summit of the Gods, Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia, Wolfwalkers) is producing, with London- and Paris-based Film Constellation handling sales.

The opera, set in 1840 Seville, follows the young knife grinder’s assistant Salvador who meets the gypsy girl Carmen, the talk of town. When Carmen’s fate is predicted to be tragic, Salvador bands together a group of misfit kids helmed by Belén to protect Carmen, amidst a symphony of sounds and emotions.

César-winning composer Amine Bouhafa (Timbuktu, Four Daughters, The Summit of the Gods) will score the film, revisiting the opera’s original melodies and crafting new hybrid traditional/contemporary compositions.

Said Laudenbach of the project, “Carmen tells the tale of Salva and Belén, two young teenagers who cross paths with Carmen, a woman who is willing to impose her freedom in a world that won’t let her. Or how to talk about female empowerment to a young audience, who will become the men and women of tomorrow, via an adventure combining destiny, passion, epic breath, discovery, friendship and tenderness in a musical and colorful Seville.”

Fabien Westerhoff at Film Constellation added, “This animated reimagining of Carmen embraces the idea of a woman ahead of her time, presenting an innovative take on the timeless narrative through the eyes of our young protagonists. With the support of a stellar team led by Folivari, Sébastien’s vibrant vision will open the incredibly rich story and musical universe of Carmen to a new generation, in a ravishing feast for the eyes and ears that will mesmerize kids and parents alike.”

Folivari’s Damien Brunner and Sarah Delmas (The Summit of the Gods, Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia, Wolfwalkers) produce alongside Pikkukala’s Veronica Lassenius and Pablo Jordi (Stinky Dog, Royals Next Door) and La Garde Montante’s Pierre-Henri Léon.

Haut et Court (Wolfwalkers, Pachamama) will release the film in French theaters in 2026 as a celebration of the original opera’s 150th anniversary. 

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Cybersecurity specialist by day, investigative journalist by night.