Italian Distributor Withdraws Animated Movie From Festivals After Accusations Of Theft

De Cola’s technique labored for some time and the rebranded movie was accepted into main European festivals together with PÖFF Shorts (Tallinn, Estonia) and Cinanima (Espinho, Portugal).

In a December 2020 interview with the Italian publication Scenografia&Costume, De Cola spoke about how she had made the movie “completely on my own” and lamented the shortage of Italian funding for brief movie animation. In that very same interview, she mentioned her visible inspirations (“I noticed Aki Kaurismaki’s movie The Different Aspect of Hope on the Berlinale. It doesn’t actually have a lot to do with my brief movie however, whereas I used to be drawing, I typically thought concerning the movie and the director’s framing decisions”) and manufacturing strategies (“I drew primarily in Photoshop, with a mouse as a result of surprisingly sufficient I’m sooner with that than with the graphics pill”).

An interview with Brunella De Cola that uses artwork from Chernysheva's film.
An interview with Brunella De Cola that makes use of art work from Chernysheva’s movie.

The movie she was speaking about, nonetheless, was a commencement challenge by Natalia Chernysheva that was launched in 2012 by Moscow-based Studio Pchela.

De Cola didn’t reply to a number of requests from Cartoon Brew for remark or rationalization.

Chernysheva, who’s well-known on this planet of brief movie and whose work has been coated by Cartoon Brew earlier than, stays bewildered that somebody would declare her movie Snowflake as their very own. Chernysheva’s movie screened at dozens of worldwide movie festivals and gained 17 worldwide prizes, together with greatest movie by an rising director on the Chicago Int’l Kids’s Movie Pageant and the viewers award on the New York Int’l Kids’s Movie Pageant. As well as, Chernysheva advised Cartoon Brew that there are numerous witnesses who noticed her engaged on the movie, together with lecturers and pals, in addition to artists who labored on the manufacturing.

Natalia Chernysheva’s unique 2012 movie Snowflake

She concedes that De Cola “has an excellent creativeness if she describes the instruments she used to provide my movie” since Chernysheva doesn’t know De Cola nor remembers ever assembly her.

Natalia Chernysheva
Natalia Chernysheva, the director of the 2012 movie Snowflake.

Chernysheva first realized of the theft of her movie from the French studio Folimage, which can also be the distributor of her movie in France. “They advised me somebody within the committee of Clermont Ferrand Movie Pageant acknowledged it,” she mentioned. “Snowflake is well-known in France. The truth is it was chosen for competitors program in the exact same [Clermont Ferrand festival] ten years in the past.”

It stays unclear who, if anybody, related to De Cola was conscious that the movie was produced by Chernysheva, but it surely was evidently unclear to the movie’s Italian distributor Zen Film and producer/agent A Little Confidence. Upon studying of the scenario, the 2 corporations collectively launched a press release on December 5 that they might take away the movie from festivals resulting from “deep considerations concerning potential violations of competition rules.”

They went on to additional say:

In specifying that Ms. Brunella De Cola remains to be affirming herself because the proprietor of the rights of the movie, the undersigned, given the opposed revindications, have determined to instantly cease the distribution of the brief movie and to withdraw all of the submissions already made to festivals.

The undersigned, insofar as it’s inside their respective competences, will undertake, in each space of their exercise, essentially the most applicable options with a purpose to make clear the efficient chain of rights of the brief movie and, if mandatory, will take any additional motion aimed toward defending their pursuits {and professional} fame.

Prepared to revive the belief within the skilled exercise that we stock on with seriousness and love, we ship the most effective regards.

Cartoon Brew additionally reached out to the credited composer of De Cola’s movie, Lorenzo Petruzziello, to ask about his involvement. The soundtrack of De Cola’s movie shouldn’t be Petruzziello’s; it’s the identical soundtrack because the one composed by Alexsandr Babin for Chernysheva’s Snowflake.

Petruzziello confirmed to Cartoon Brew that the music within the movie shouldn’t be his, regardless of him being credited. He defined that he had composed a light-weight jazz piece with piano, drums, and double bass known as “Away from Residence” whereas he was finding out music. (Cartoon Brew has been capable of independently confirm the existence of this piece of music.)

Petruzziello defined that De Cola had requested him to create a music video utilizing his music and he or she had despatched him “numerous take a look at clips” all through the manufacturing course of. Nevertheless, the ultimate movie comprises none of his music.

Cartoon Brew additionally reached out to the Academy of Italian Cinema, which presents the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equal of the Oscars. De Cola’s movie had been submitted this yr for award consideration to the Academy, however the group has since eliminated the movie from rivalry with out making a press release. The Academy didn’t reply to our request for remark about why they eliminated the movie or how they might deal with the invention of a person releasing one other particular person’s work beneath their very own identify.

Whereas no authorized motion has been initiated as of but in opposition to De Cola, there’s widespread consciousness within the movie competition group concerning the scenario and De Cola’s retitled movie is now not being programmed. ASIFA, the worldwide group dedicated to the promotion of animation, has unfold the phrase about what has occurred and has even taken the uncommon step of issuing an official assertion asking that De Cola’s Away from Residence not be programmed into any occasions.

ASIFA’s president Deanna Morse wrote on the group’s website:

We’re shocked that an animation murals could be so blatantly… nicely, there is no such thing as a different phrase for it however … stolen. It’s unimaginable that an individual might even assume that is potential.

Our animation group stands behind the rights of animation artists.

Our animation group helps one another.

We abhor this case, the place the work of an artist shouldn’t be revered.

We stand with Natalia, and ask others to concentrate on these sorts of prospects and conditions.

Chernysheva, who continues to provide new movies, stays surprised that her decade-old movie was chosen to display in festivals so a few years after its debut. Contemplating how “simple it’s to resubmit the identical movie twice,” she mentioned jokingly, “why trouble making a brand new one?”