German-Jewish artist Charlotte Solomon, who was murdered in 1 murdered Auschwitz and his autobiographical masterwork at the age of 26 “Life? Or theater?
Rosenberg first encountered “Life? Or theater? “-Which includes hundreds of gauche paintings, a 2,000,000-word journey-of-an-artist story filled with dark family mysteries and countless text overlays and musical hints – as a bat mitzvah gift. He will soon be with the book.” “Build a book that I will buy and give when I fall in love,” he said.
After gathering a decade of producer credit for notable Canadian dramatic and documentary features, Rosenberg decided one morning in 2012 that an animated film about Solomon’s life should be made, and that his passion and extensive network should be used to do so.
“Charlotte,” a Canada-France-Belgium co-production by Eric Warin (“Ballarina”) and Tahir Rana (“Welcome to the Wayne”), received its world premiere in a September 13 special in Toronto. Buyers are appearing in LA and New York theaters on the same day. The image has been distributed in Canada by Elevation Pictures and MK2 Mile End; Sierra Affinity is handling US and international sales.
Keira Knightley and Marion Cotillard provide Charlotte’s English and French performances, respectively, and also work as executive producers.
“I believe this film is going to be associated with young creative women. It’s a war story, it’s a refugee story, but it’s really a biopic of an artist who has been ignored. He invented graphic memoirs, he acted with spontaneity and did all these conceptual things that are now widely used. He is one of the best artists of the twentieth century.
Although Rosenberg now has three animation projects, including a hybrid series of Assassin’s Creed, “Charlotte” was his first on his development slate. The curvature of learning was steep.
He recalls, “I was happily ignorant of how animation usually develops.” “Unbeknownst to me, I developed it as a live-action film and spent four years working on the screenplay with Eric Rutherford, who did a lot of heavy lifting. Then came writer David Bezmozgis and worked geometrically to improve the character – it was a beautiful collaboration.
Some of the early writing work conveyed the visual aspect. “We liked something related to what we knew or found. Solomon never used black and so we knew we would never use it in a movie, ”he said.
Animation veterinarian Christina Rotsert was Rosenberg’s main collaborator in creating the animation team. “We found Tahir Rana, who devised the strategy of 2D realism with 3D for a television series and let it move us forward.”
Another key collaborator was Kate Rinzel, the UK’s casting director, who helped bring the top voice cast together, a key element of Gap Financing protection. “We were incredibly lucky to get Keira Knightley – this was her first feature animation role – and everyone said ‘yes’ when she came on board. It’s not uncommon for actors to be invited to act in an animated film.”
The English vocal performance was recorded in London in five days, with Knightley presenting his scenes opposite actors Jim Broadbent (Charlotte’s grandfather) and Mark Strong (one of Charlotte’s love interests).
“My feeling is that whoever distributes the film will market it as an independent film, so we’re lucky to have an incredible cast,” Rosenberg said. “In terms of awards, it’s animation, but in the case of Marketplace, we’re competing with other independent live-action films.
“I’m on the run (animated documentary) ‘Escape’, I’m glad ‘Charlotte’ came at a time when we’re not just saying, hey, it’s not a cartoon, okay?”
On the live-action front, Rosenberg and Serendipity’s Robert Lantos are creating “Maya and Samar.” Anita Doran (screenwriter for “The Breadwinner”) will adapt Tamara Faith Burger’s screenplay to a young journalist whose previous idea was revealed to her through her acquaintance with a strange woman living a life without status in a foreign country.
Rosenberg co-produced the film with Jerome Duffer of Balthazar’s Les Productions in France and Eric Gossen and Anton Reuben of the Belgian animation studio Walking the Dog. Executive producers include Nancy Grant, Xavier Dolan, Robert Lantos, Jim Sternberg, Joe Yacono, Mark Muselman, Morgan Emery, Jean-Charles Levy, Cedric Eland, Bastian Sirodot, Knightley and Cotillard.