Voice Recordings "Fritzi & Sophie"
The voice recordings for our TV series "Fritzi & Sophie - Boundless Friedshiop" are currently done at Metrix in Halle. Kirah Filter and Berenike Fröb are lending their voices to our film heroines Fritzi and Sophie. And as if the directors Ralf Kukula, Matthias Bruhn and Thomas Meyer-Hermann had not casted by voice but by photo, the girls even match our animated characters perfectly visually. The dubbing recordings will take place until the end of October.
At the same time, the score is being completed by André Dziezuk, who also composed the film music for the animation feature "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale". Our foley artist Peter Sandmann has also been hard at work in the sound studio of Klangfee (alias Florian Marquardt) in Halle. We are looking forward the sound mix and the final result!
Berenike Fröb (Sophie) and Kirah Filter (Fritzi)
Lao Luno Wolter (Hanno)
Max Gösche (Dialogue director), Kirah Filter (Fritzi) and Sebastian Heyser (Sound engineer/ Edit)
Jane in the world of souls & Jane´s journey
We are very happy that the project development of our animation feature project "Jane in the world of souls" as well as the accompanying game "Jane´s journey" will be funded by the MDM. At yesterday's summer party and the 25th anniversary of the "Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung" in Leipzig, a part of the future team already met.
(from left to right: Julien Schillinger (PandaBees), Ralf Kukula, Nicole Kellerhals (Dramaturgy), Nadja Frank (Consulting), Sabine Kraft, Francie Liebschner)
30th anniversary of Balance Film
Congratulations on the 30th anniversary! On 1 July 1993 Ralf Kukula founded Balance Film GmbH in Dresden. Last week we celebrated this by going down the Elbe in sun, rain and headwind, but always in a good mood. We remembered our projects and companions of the last decades and say "Thank you for 30 years of Balance Film"!
Miss Paper discovers the world
As part of the 35th Filmfest Dresden, the animation school Fantasia has launched the cutout workshop "Miss Paper discovers the world". From April 17 to 19, our animators Mandy Müller and Francie Liebschner will accompany school classes in their first steps as animators.
Mister Paper, known from "Sesame Street", is a rather stubborn man who lives in a world of paper and cardboard. With his scissors, he can create anything he needs. So he cuts himself an apple out of paper when he is hungry, or a cow when he needs milk for his cat. But sometimes his creations develop some waywardness, so Mister Paper has to get creative again to make sure everything turns out okay in the end. Is Mister Paper alone in his abilities? Unfortunately, yes. But not for long. Because soon there will be Miss Paper! In the workshop, we will accompany her with scissors and camera on her voyage of discovery around the world.
The results will be presented on Sunday, April 23, 2023 at 10:30 am at movie theater Schauburg Dresden. The animation filmmakers as well as the directors of the TV series "Mister Paper", Ben Tesseur and Steven de Beul from Belgium, will attend.
Mister Paper visiting Flensburg
Up in the north of Germany, in Flensburg, our episode "Mister Paper´s birthday" (Meener Papier is jarig) will be screened in the animated film competition TRICKY on November 17th and 19th. The series MISTER PAPER is a co-production with Mockingbird Productions (BE), Viking Film (NL), Ketnet, Avrotros and NDR. The series currently runs on Mondays and Fridays on Sesame Street.
Awards for THE CROSSING
Three awards were given to THE CROSSING at the 27th International Film Festival SCHLINGEL at Chemnitz/ Germany. On Saturday evening, our animator Urte Zintler accepted the Defa Foundation Award on behalf of director Florence Miailhe. Furthermore, our co-production was awarded the award of the Ecumenical Jury and the award of the European Children's Film Association ECFA. We are very happy and thank you very much for these great awards.
Mister Paper on TV
Since October 3rd 2022, the 5-minute stories of our Mister Paper series can be seen weekly on Sesame Street. Always on Mondays 7.45 on KiKA and Fridays 6.00 on NDR. Until the end of December, you can experience 26 episodes in Mister Paper's world. Whether Mister Paper learns to fly or braves a thunderstorm as a fireman, celebrates his birthday with guests he invented himself or creates a double - these stories and more are now available to discover.
"Fritzi and Sophie" in production
In mid-September, we shot the final motion capture scenes of our series "Fritzi & Sophie - Boundless Friendship" at the "Gare de la Lune" in Dresden. The series is scheduled to air on TV in fall 2024. So there is still some time to finish the 8 episodes á 22 minutes.
A production of Balance Film, TrickStudio Lutterbeck GmbH , Studio FILM BILDER in co-production with ARD, MDR, WDR, SWR.
Direction: Ralf Kukula, Matthias Bruhn, Thomas Meyer-Hermann
Supported by: BKM, MDM, Film- & Medienstiftung NRW, MFG Baden-Württemberg.
THE CROSSING at Schlingel Festival
THE CROSSING will be screened at the 27th Schlingel International Film Festival on October 11, 2022. As part of the "Blickpunkt Deutschland" competition, our international co-production will be presented to school classes.
MISTER PAPER at International Filmfestival Schlingel
Next Saturday, October 8 2022, the episode "Mister Paper´s birthday" will be screened at the SCHLINGEL International Film Festival in the National Animation Shortfilm Competition. The program "Of monsters, courage and beastly good" is aimed at children aged 4 and up. In this cut-out episode, our hero celebrates his birthday. From the decorations to the presents, he creates everything himself with scissors and paper. All that's missing are the guests...
"Fritzi & Sophie" in production
Together with TrickStudio Lutterbeck from Cologne and Studio FILM BILDER from Stuttgart we are currently producing the series "Fritzi & Sophie - Foundless Friendship" (WT). Based on our animation feature "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" the series tells in 8 episodes of 22 minutes each the life in the GDR, the escape of Sophie and her mother to the West and the beginning of a new life in the Federal Republic of Germany.
For the production in 3D, our artists slip into Xsens suits and we record their movements using motion capture. Three of four shooting blocks are done and the first scenes are already in animation cleanup.
Photos: Ina Rossow (Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung)
Produced by Balance Film, TrickStudio Lutterbeck, Studio FILM BILDER in co-production with ARD, MDR, WDR, SWR.
Directors: Ralf Kukula, Matthias Bruhn, Thomas Meyer-Hermann
Funded by: BKM, MDM, Film- & Medienstiftung NRW, MFG Baden-Württemberg
World Sales: Global Screen
Festival "Goldener Spatz"
programming Mister Paper & The Crossing
At this year's German Children's Media Festival "Goldener Spatz", two of our productions ran from May 29 to June 4, 2022.
Our animated series MISTER PAPER ran in competition in the Animation series category and celebrated its German premiere.
The oil-on-glass animated feature film THE CROSSING was presented in the youth film category.
Photo: Philipp E. Kümpel (Composer Film Score THE CROSSING)
THE CROSSING premieres and release
There are evenings that remain memory and are still worth telling about months later. So it is with the premieres of our animated film THE CROSSING. Regarding to the upcoming theatrical release on April 28th, 2022, we invited the Leipzig team to a preview.
In Dresden, we presented the oil-on-glass masterpiece during a premiere evening at Zentralkino.
During the film talk Ralf Kukula (co-producer), Philipp E. Kümpel (composer), Jan Mildner (compositing) and Thabet Azzawi (oud player) answered many questions, the evening was moderated by Andreas Körner (in the photo from left to right). Many thanks to Bernhard Reuther for the organization.
Fotos: Balance Film
Awards for THE CROSSING
We are happy about two awards DIE CROSSING has received in the past days.
On the one hand, there is the ICS Award. The International Cinephile Society is an online organization of film critics and journalists worldwide. Each year, it honors the best American and international films.
And most recently, THE CROSSING was awarded the Jury Special Prize at the MONSTRA - Lisbon Animated Film Festival.
Mister Paper at De Ensors
On March 12, 2022 the Flemish Film and Television Award "De Ensors" went to the directors Ben Tesseur and Steven De Beul of Beast Animation. The award for Best Animation was given to our co-production MISTER PAPER. the cut-out-series will be broadcast on NDR from fall 2022.
THE CROSSING at ITFS
The 29th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film has selected our animated feature film THE CROSSING for the feature film competition AniMovie. From May 3-9 2022, the festival will take place hybrid for the first time. There are 2 screenings planned and we are happy to be part of it.
César Awards - THE CROSSING
On January 26 2022, THE CROSSING was nominated for the César Award as Best Animated Feature Film. The César is the national film award of France, which was created in 1976. Since 2011, the prize has also been awarded in the category Best Animated Film.
Second Prize for THE CROSSING
Future Film Festival of Bologna awarded THE CROSSING with the Second Feature Film Award. The festival took place at the beginning of December.
Award ceremony of DOK Leipzig
At the awards ceremony of the 64th DOK fest Leipzig, our oil-on-glass animated film THE CROSSING was awarded the "Gedanken-Aufschluss" price by a jury made up of prisoners from the Regis-Breitingen juvenile detention centre. The French director Florence Miailhe was a guest at DOK fest at the weekend and accepted the price.
Excerpt from the jury statement:
"Choosing the winner was very easy for us. In our opinion, the film was by far the most interesting and gripping... What we found particularly interesting about this film is that it can be very well associated with the current refugee situation, which prevails in many parts of the world and thus affects us all. With the help of the film you can put yourself in such a situation very well... We also liked the structure and style, as it is very artistic. The painting style is captivating and contributes to the tension of the film. In general, we can say that the theme of the story is exciting, believable and realistic... The film is insightful and thought-provoking..."
Photos: DOKfest Leipzig
German premiere of THE CROSSING
On October 26th 2021 the German premiere of our animated film THE CROSSING took place at Leipzig Central Station. 1.5 years after completion, the film is now running in competition for the audience award at DOKfest Leipzig. As a special screening THE CROSSING will be screened at the juvenile detention center in Regis-Breitingen. The film will be released in German cinemas on February 3, 2022.
Special Jury Prize for THE CROSSING
Our co-production THE ODYSSEE started its festival tour with the world premiere in Annecy. At the "International Film Festival Zlín", the oil-on-glass animated film won the "Special Jury Prize - Feature Films" in the category Children and Youth on Sept 15th 2021. The film will be released in French cinemas at the end of September, in the Czech Republic at the end of November and in Germany on January 20th 2022.
(c)ZLIN IFF, MAUR film 2021
Martin Vandas - producer at MAUR Film recieving the award
FRITZI wins main award in Norway
On Sunday, September 5th 2021, our animated feature film "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" was awarded Best Feature Film at the International Junior Film Festival in Tromso, Norway. The feature film premiered in Leipzig almost 2 years ago and it's great that FRITZI continues to travel the world.
Press exuberance for THE CROSSING
We are thrilled by the voices of the French press after the world premiere of "La Traversée"/ THE CROSSING in Annecy:
LE FIGARO: La Traversée has inflamed the audience in Annecy" "An exceptional animated film".
LA CROIX "A great film in animated color".
LE PARISIEN "Sumptuous! A work worthy of a Chagall, of incredible artistic power".
TÉLÉRAMA "a magnificent cloak of humanism and poetry for all those displaced by history".
LE FIGARO "la Traversée a enflammé le public à Annecy" "un exceptionnel long-métrage animé"
LA CROIX "Un magnifique film en peinture animée"
LE PARISIEN "somptueux! Une œuvre digne de Chagall, d'une incroyable puissance artistique"
TÉLÉRAMA "un splendide manteau d'humanisme et de poésie pour tous les déplacés de l'Histoire"
CONTACT Pitch Award for "Heimatfilm" (WT)
On July 16, 2021, the 17th Young Talent Day CONTACT of the "Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung" took place at the Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel Dresden. Our author Anita Müller presented her short film project "Heimatfilm" (AT) in front of about 100 filmmakers, producers and editors and promptly won the pitching award of 3,000 euros. Until the end of the year we are developing the project together with Anita and a grant from the FFA.
Anita is a freelance audiovisual artist and film author. In her half-hour animadocumentary, she recounts seven decades of contemporary German history through the memories of her family. A visit to her relatives evolves into a time travel through the family history and reveals previously unspoken conflicts - be it with her violent father who returned home from the war, with the limited freedom in East Germany or with the changes of the post-reunification period.
The jury for the pitching award included Aude Benhaïm (director), Katrin Küchler (MDR Unicato - Das Kurzfilmmagazin), Thomas Beyer (MDR Redaktion Geschichte und Dokumentationen), Dr. Regina Bouchehri (LOOKSfilm) and Jörg Schneider (ZDF - Das kleine Fernsehspiel).
Congratulations dear Anita!
Photo: Ralf Kukula, Anita Müller, Sabine Kraft ((c) MDM)
Motion Capturing technical tests
In preparation for the series production "Fritzi & Sophie - Friendship without boarders" we test the motion capturing suits of the company Xsens together with the Dresden colleagues from Knitterfisch GbR. In the brand new studio near the Dresden fair we were able to tinker and measure and calibrate the whole day. In the meantime, we are evaluating the data and optimizing the technology in order to be best prepared for the start of production.
Francie Liebschner - Compositing Supervisor Balance Film
Jan Mildner - Compositing Supervisor Balance Film
Anselm Mende - Intern BF
Edgar Plonski - Intern BF
Tess Tischer - Intern BF
Tobias Kramer - Postproduction Supervisor
Jens Fehrmann - GF Knitterfisch
Photos by Ralf Kukula
Worldpremiere of "The Crossing
After a long wait, on June 17, 2021 the time had finally come. Our co-produced animation film "The Crossing" (La Traversée) celebrated its world premiere at the probably biggest and most important animation film festival in Annecy (FRA). The audience honored the director, producers and team with standing ovations and great emotions. A perfect start for the upcoming festival tour and theatrical release.
At the award ceremony on Saturday, June 19, 2021 "The Crossing" was awarded with the "Jury Mention" in the category Feature Film.
"The Crossing" wins German Hearing Film Award 2021
The internationally co-produced animated film "The Crossing" is the world's first feature-length animated film using the technique of oil painting on glass. Already completed since early 2020, the film, like so many others, has been put on a long hold by the Covid19 pandemic before its theatrical release.
Artist and director Florence Miailhe and writer Marie Desplechin, both from France, tell the dramatic as well as adventurous journey of siblings Kyona and Adriel. When their village is devastated and set on fire by paramilitary gangs one summer day, the children have to flee with their parents. But they are separated from their parents. What they don't know at the time - a separation forever. Haunted by hatred, 13-year-old Kyona and her 12-year-old brother start for an odyssey through a fictional Europe. Their escape lasts a whole year and means the end of their childhood.
"The Crossing" wins the 2021 German Hearing Film Award in the category Children and Youth as its first prize. The slogan "To love films, you don't have to see them!" could hardly fit this previously unreleased film better.
Since 2002, the German Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired has been awarding the "ADele" to outstanding versions of hearing films. In the meantime, the award ceremony has developed into an event with high media attention. Under the patronage of Mario Adorf and from 2009 Christine Neubauer, numerous prominent guests from politics, film and business have been welcomed in recent years. This year's award ceremony took place digitally and was moderated by Steven Gätjen.
The award - the "ADele" - is a bronze sculpture by the blind artist Dario Malkowski (1926-2017) called "The Listener". The relief, weighing about 3 kilograms, shows a woman's face. "One hand is behind the ear to make listening clear, the other hand thoughtfully covers the eyes" the artist himself described the representation. It symbolizes how blind and highly visually impaired people "see" a hearing film.
"The Crossing" selected for Official Competition at Annecy Film Festival
After a year in the pandemic queue, our co-produced oil-on-glass animation film "The Crossing" is now seeing the light of day. As one of 11 films, "The Crossing" ("La Traversée") will be screened in June 2021 during the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in the Feature Film Official Competition. This will also be the world premiere of the film. The theatrical release in France is scheduled for the end of September, and the film will be released in the Czech Republic in November. No release date has been set for Germany yet, but we are looking forward to the festival tour.
75 years DEFA studio
DEFA turns 75 today. A reason to celebrate! Not only because DEFA film has significantly shaped our film culture, but also because the roots of Balance Film GmbH are deeply anchored with the DEFA. Ralf Kukula, who founded the company together with Thomas Claus in 1993, worked at the DEFA animation studio for several years after completing his studies in Babelsberg. During this time, he worked on animated films such as "Sitis", "Mausi und Kilo", "Der Kreis" and "Metamorphosen".
Even though Balance Film now works almost entirely digitally, traditionally analog-produced animated films are part of the portfolio, such as in the current project "Mr. Paper" - a classic cut-out animation series. But first, it's time to reminisce and raise a glass to this very special and formative time at DEFA! Happy birthday!
Schoolaward "Best Film" for FRITZI
Our animation feature film "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" was one of the most viewed films of the School Cinema Weeks in Germany in 2020. Under the current conditions, school cinema unfortunately cannot take place as usual at the moment.
Therefore, we are even more pleased by some news that reached us this week: our film was awarded the School Award of the IndieJúnior Alliance IFF as Best Film in Portugal.
When it comes to dealing with a theme like the one Fritzi centers, there are numerous risks. When we talk about politics, we step on a terrain that easily divides opinions and hurts susceptibilities. What happens is that this film seeks to remain well on the surface of any political position. The narrative is limited to contextualizing the scenario in which the characters are inserted, pointing out countless facts, these being: the degrading state of a post-World War II Germany and the territorial separation between the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic. These facts obviously had a great negative influence, at various levels, in the lives of those who lived there. And that is why, despite choosing to glide on the surface of an extremely deep and dense subject, the narrative of this feature film is by no means superficial. The depth in which it chooses to get involved lies in the way in which several families, friends and fellow citizens, find themselves separated due to the interests of those who have nothing to do with them.
We are then confronted with the story of a child who is forced, along with her mother, to flee the socialist side of Germany, immigrating to the capitalist half. In this process, her pet, a small puppy, is left behind, and remains at the care of a friend, Fritzi. Throughout the rest of the feature, we follow Fritzi's attempt to return the animal to the company of its first owner. The childlike and emotional atmosphere created softens the coldest heart and even threatens to cause one or two tears to fall at the end of the film, when the main character's goal is finally achieved. For these reasons, together with a technical excellence in animation, drawing, editing, script and so on, we chose this film to be the winner of the IndieJunior festival.
"Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" nominated for 57th Grimme Award
Out of more than 850 submissions our animated feature film "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" has been chosen to be nominated for this year´s 57th Grimme Award.
Films were nominated in the categories Information & Culture, Fiction, Entertainment and Children & Youth. The respective juries will now decide on the 16 Grimme Awards which will be announced on May 11, 2021. The awards ceremony is scheduled for August 27, 2021.
FRITZI nomination for "Best European Feature Film for Children and Youth in 2020"
After "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" received the ECFA Feature Award at the Kids Film Festival in Warsaw, FRITZI is now nominated for the "Best European Feature Film for Children and Youth in 2020". 10 films that have received an ECFA Feature Film Award at different festivals around the world in 2020 are now in the running for the overall award. Normally the award ceremony takes place during the Berlinale, but due to the pandemic this year the ceremony will take place at the end of May during the International Zlin Film Festival. The decision on the award will be made by the 140 members of the ECFA (European Children's Film Association).
Awards for FRITZI in Mexico and at the "Kindertiger"
When events and good news come thick and fast, sometimes it's hard to spread the word. So here's a little update on how FRITZI surprise everyone again at the end of the year.
At the end of November, it rained two more great prizes for "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale". First, FRITZI was awarded for the best feature film by the children's jury of the Mexican festival "La Matatena" in Mexico City!
A few days later, the screenplay of "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" by Beate Völcker and Péter Palátsik received the Kindertiger Screenplay Award, probably the most important children's film screenplay award in Germany. The KiKA children's jury explained its decision as follows: "We were most impressed by the story of a self-confident girl who risks a lot for her friendship. The script of "Fritzi - A revolutionary Tale" made us think about the fact that we don't live in a divided country, nor are we separated from our friends and family." "For us, the award is a blast!" said the winning duo. "We are happy for all of the team who worked so many years on FRITZI. Especially with an animated film, teamwork is very important. A lot of heart and love went into this film. The fact that our script wins this screenplay award, which is only given by children, is a very special recognition."