LevelK Boards ‘Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light’ Ahead of Annecy Premiere: ‘Everything in this Film is Handmade’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Danish sales agent LevelK has fallen for stop-motion animation “Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light” (“Tonda, Slávka a kouzelné světlo”), set to premiere in Annecy’s feature film Contrechamp competition in June.

Directed by Filip Pošivač and written by Jana Šrámková, the film is produced by Pavla Janoušková Kubečková and Jakub Viktorín for nutprodukce (Czech Republic) and nutprodukcia (Slovakia), with Hungary’s Filmfabriq, Česká televize and RTVS – Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska also on board.

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“I believe we are creating a film which, on one side, can be entertaining for the whole family, but it can also motivate the upcoming generation of viewers to be more open to different art genres. And, most importantly, to be open to diversity and tolerance in our society,” says Viktorín, also behind Oscar submission “Victim.”

“We are super happy that LevelK joined us on this journey to share this work with audiences all around the world.”

“With its inspirational story about bringing light into the world and embracing your uniqueness, it’s a perfect fit for our profile,” adds LevelK’s sales executive Alexandra Cruz.

In the story, little Tony is wasting away at home. His controlling parents want to protect him – mostly because, once he takes off his mask and gloves, Tony actually glows. But his new friend, Shelly, doesn’t seem to mind it at all, because their house is shrouded in darkness.

“Everything you see in this film is handmade,” assures the director.

Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light
Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light

“We made it by continuing the tradition of what is now regarded as our national treasure, acknowledged by its inclusion on the Unesco list [of intangible cultural heritage]: Puppetry. I think there is pure magic in stop-motion.”

Hoping to inspire the audience to be “creative and imaginative,” Pošivač also wanted to talk about parents and children, and their complicated relationships.

“Tony’s parents don’t listen to him at all. They don’t do it on purpose: they love him and want to protect him. But this task proves too big for them and somewhere along the way, they forget about the need to have a dialogue,” he says.

They are not the only adults who disappoint here, poisoning their home with resentment or sadness.

“I think it’s often very difficult for adults to maintain a sense of tolerance, openness and objectivity. It’s much easier to give into frustration and a negative attitude, but that’s how our inner light disappears,” explains Pošivač.

Literally leaving them – and their children – in the dark, where something sinister might be lurking. The film also provides the director with “a wonderful character for an animated film” as he investigates the myth of “genius loci,” the guardian spirit of a place.

Luckily, apart from Tony’s unusual gift, his protagonists can also use Shelly’s magical flashlight.

“It’s really simple. Children are much more honest, pure and their souls are more open. They have a potential I really believe in. They are our future and I want to encourage their ideas and imagination,” he says, noting that some of his young viewers have already embraced the film.

“We got amazing feedback from the kids at our test screenings. They were asking how we created all this ‘3D animation’ and which software we used. When I explained to them it was completely handmade, they were inspired by it. And excited that they can also make such films at home,” he recalls.

“I think that stop-motion with puppets opens a gateway to the world of imagination that still feels new to young viewers. Not only in our region.”

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