- Written by Vassilis Kroustallis
Production is under way on the 2D animation feature by Waltz with Bashir director Ari Folman, which retells the haunting story of Anne Frank. See the first trailer.
The Israeli filmmaker Ari Folman, who animated the Oscar-nominated Waltz with Bashir on the 1982 Lebanon war (but with also glimpses of the Holocaust drama) is to adapt once more the Anne Frank story on screen. The celebrated World War II 13-year-old diary writer Anne Frank recorded the events in her Amsterdam hiding place for two years. She and her family were discovered by the Nazis in August 1944, and Anne Frank subsequently died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Where is Anne Frank? is a co-production between Purple Whale/Walking the Dog (Belgium), Samsa Films/Doghouse Films (Luxembourg), Bridgit Folman Film Gang (Israel), Submarine (The Netherlands) and Le Pacte (France), The script focuses on Kitty, Anne's pen pal friend to whom her diary entries are addressed. Kitty discovers in today's Amsterdam Anne's diary and reading them, eventually setting the whole story in motion.
Kitty, the imaginary friend of Anne, is desperate to prove that her best friend is still alive. Kitty is a child of today, she’s wild, smart, tough, nervy,unfettered; she flees the Anne Frank House, steals the diary and sets out on the most difficult journey of all: discovering Anne’s fate after she and her family were caught by the Gestapo. - Film Synopsis
As previously stated by the director himself:
Bringing the Anne Frank Diary to all screens is a fantastic opportunity and challenge as there is a real need for new artistic material to keep the memory alive for younger generations - Ari Folman
Because of its dark undertones, the Waltz with Bashir director struggled to find the right narrative angle to present Anne Frank, until he realized he could used her imaginary friend Kitty. The film was pitched during Cartoon Movie 2019.
Watch the first concept trailer for the film (at 04:57, via CARTOON)
Folman had complete access to all the archives of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, founded by Anna's father, Otto Frank. The film was previously conceived as a 2D/ stop-motion animation project, with Andy Gent (puppeteer for Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox) creating the puppet models. However, the film will now be handled exclusively in 2D animation. Still, the scenes were Anne Frank is hiding in the attic are filmed against sets created by Andy Gent. A monochromatic Amsterdam of today gives its place to a very vibrant Dutch capital of the past.
Production for the feature animation begun in Folman's animation studio (Jaffa, Israel), to be followed in the participating co-production studios. The film is now scheduled for a 2020 September release (to be confirmed).
Here's a concept poster from Walking The Dog:
This is not the first animated version of the Anne Frank. In 1995, the Japanese Madhouse animation studio made an anime version of Anne Frank, called Anne no Nikki (The Diary of Anne Frank). The sweet film was directed by Akinori Nagaoka, with a score by Michael Nyman.