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'Incendies' Director Denis Villeneuve To Helm Animated Take On Joe Sacco's Graphic Novel 'Footnotes In Gaza'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 1, 2012 at 9:21AM

Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has always been one of French-speaking Canada's most exciting filmmaking talents, thanks to the likes of "Maelström" and "Polytechnique," both of which won him Genie awards for Best Director, but last year saw him really start to make waves internationally with his Oscar-nominated drama "Incendies." That film saw him leap up Hollywood directorial wish-lists, with the filmmaker becoming attached to the long-gestating Black List script "Prisoners," while late last year saw reports that he'd be teaming up with Jessica Chastain for an adaptation of Russell Banks' novel "The Darling."
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Denis Villeneuve Footnotes In Gaza

Quebecois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve has always been one of French-speaking Canada's most exciting filmmaking talents, thanks to the likes of "Maelström" and "Polytechnique," both of which won him Genie awards for Best Director, but last year saw him really start to make waves internationally with his Oscar-nominated drama "Incendies." That film saw him leap up Hollywood directorial wish-lists, with the filmmaker becoming attached to the long-gestating Black List script "Prisoners," while late last year saw reports that he'd be teaming up with Jessica Chastain for an adaptation of Russell Banks' novel "The Darling."

But he's just added one more film to those competing to be his next one, and from the subject matter alone, it has the potential to be even more incendiary than, well, "Incendies." Screen Daily report that Villeneuve is now attached to direct an adaptation of Joe Sacco's 2009 graphic novel "Footnotes In Gaza," which French company Tu Vas Voir ("The Motorcycle Diaries") have acquired the rights for. 

For those unfamiliar with Sacco's work, he's a comic artist and journalist who illustrates his work in conflict zones in acclaimed, award-winning work such as "Palestine" (which won the 1996 American Book Award) and "The Fixer." "Footnotes In Gaza" depicts Sacco's investigations into two incidents during the Suez War in 1956 at Khan Younis and Rafah, where, according to the United Nations, Israeli forces killed a total of 386 Palestinians.

Producer Amiel Tenenbaum tells the trade, "It took a long time for us to convince Joe Sacco that we were the right people to adapt the work. Joe was always adamant that it was important for him to have confidence in the director... from the beginning we'd had Denis in mind," before adding that after a meeting between the author and the director, Sacco told them that "I think you've found the right person." The film will be a feature-length animation inspired by Sacco's illustrations, and Villeneuve is working on the script now, with the company planning to put together financing towards the summer. Given the general resistance to films revolving around Israel and Palestine, we suspect getting backing may be tricky, but we certainly hope it comes together.

This article is related to: Denis Villeneuve, Footnotes In Gaza, Gael García Bernal, Ricardo Darín


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