On May 30 in Barcelona, from Disseny Hub stage, producers of animated film Mavka. The Forest SongAnna Eliseeva, Irina Kostyuk and Egor Olesov held a highly successful pitching of their project at Cartoon 360, a major international animation business forum. The presentation’s success and comments from experts present there confirmed yet again the huge potential of the project to go beyond a mere animated film and to grow into a wide-scale Mavka Universe, a cross-media project to be implemented at a variety of other platforms except traditional theatrical release.
The Mavka Universe includes gaming, applications, VR and AR, books, series, web series, huge opportunities for licensing and merchandising as well as fashion projects with famous Ukrainian and European designers; all this is but a fraction of options. At the pitching, the producers told about their plans for ideas realization and demonstrated the first steps in this direction. For example, Cartoon 360 visitors and experts were impressed with temporary “Mavka tattoos” made using AR technologies. They replicate the ornament of magic tattoos adorning Mavka’s face and hands in the cartoon; with the help of a smartphone app, they come alive and transform into nature forces right on one’s hand. Development for the project was provided by Signal Red production company.
Naturally, one of integral and brand-forming components of the Mavka Universe is style and clothing. Olga Navrotskaya, a Ukrainian costume and fashion designer, developed team looks specially for the project, i.e. costumes and accessories (wreaths from Patoka Studio); they combine elements of ornaments used in the outfit of Mavka, the film’s protagonist. Fashion ideas and future “Mavka collections” (lines of clothing and accessories) are also in development among project producers.
Music is also a principal element of the film and the whole Mavka Universe. It will be presented both in the format of offline events (concerts, performances, etc.) and in released soundtracks, creation of music videos, and other initiatives. One of the main themes of the film (Lukash’s recorder melody) written by DakhaBrakha, a well-known Ukrainian ethno-band, was used during the presentation. The producers happily noted that many people present in the auditorium know and love DakhaBrakha.
Besides, the experts were won over by the prototype of a stuffed toy created based on the image of Swampy, a comical character from the cartoon and Mavka’s best friend. The charming character is simply destined to become a favorite toy for each child and continue project’s success as a line of children’s game merchandise.
The European audience also liked the fact that Mavka. The Forest Song animated film is not just a beautiful life story for the viewer to have a good time in the cinema. This project is unique due to its profound and important mission: to facilitate the renaissance of Ukrainian national culture and its wide-scale export. The film themes in line with the plot, i.e. environment, Ukrainian authentic culture and mythology, as well as unique visual language and a powerful female protagonist, make the Mavka Universe infinite.
The project received excellent marks from international experts. “This is a great project, a really big one! The plot built on classic folklore can become the basis for a very strong film. The visual finds are interesting and fresh, but the key feature of the project, in my opinion, is its international potential. It is incredible to see such an ambitious project from the part of the world we never expected it from,” said Eleanor Coleman, head of animation at INDIE SALES, a major distribution company, and a former head of production at TF1, author of the first successful 360-degree strategy for children’s programming and digital content in France, during her tenure as head of in house production across all platforms at TF1in France.
“This is simply a brilliant story, I can’t wait to see the cartoon premiere!” said Daniel Mathiasen, concept director at LEGO. “I think you’ve struck gold. And you simply have to explore and mine it.”
The producers have also held a range of constructive meetings with top European companies and continued negotiations on the film’s international co-production, which were started in Bordeaux and Stuttgart.
Сartoon 360 is a signature event in the line of those organized by CARTOON professional brand. The forum is unique because it only selects animated projects with wide-scale transmedia potential. Participation in the pitching became an important strategic achievement in international marketing for Animagrad studio and the team of Mavka. TheForestSong.
Media Resources Management is the company responsible for submitting Mavka. The Forest Song to these and other events.
FYI: Mavka: The Forest Song is a full-length animated feature produced by Ukraine-based Animagrad (FILM.UA Group). It is currently at the concept stage of development. The film is inspired by a play of the same name by Lesya Ukrainka, as well as by various Ukrainian legends and cultural traditions. The film’s production crew includes experts from leading ethnography institutes: the Ukrainian Studies Center at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, the Ivan Honchar Museum, and the Ukrainian Fashion Museum. The experts are there to ensure the authenticity of the Ukrainian myths and legends, religious beliefs, rituals, and visual culture translated into the singular animated world of Mavka. And the world-renowned group DakhaBrakha has already committed to creating the film’s soundtrack.In September 2016, the animated feature Mavka: The Forest Song won the ninth contest held by the Ukrainian State Film Agency and was awarded state financing in the amount of 30% of the film’s total budget. Mavka: The Forest Song is scheduled for release in Ukraine in 2019.