Jonathan Demme Lands Financing For Animated NO Story

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Jonathan Demme is per­haps best known for direct­ing the thriller Silence of The Lambs. One thing he is not known for is his ani­mated films. That looks to change with his pend­ing adap­ta­tion of Dave Eggers’ post-Hurricane Kat­rina book “Zeitoun.” First announced nearly three years ago, the project hasn’t had much move­ment since and Demme has been busy knock­ing out a num­ber of doc­u­men­taries, includ­ing two cen­ter­ing on Neil Young in addi­tion to his lat­est, “I’m Car­olyn Parker.” But it seems like “Zeitoun” is finally going to be mov­ing for­ward, as financ­ing has kicked things into motion.

Screen Daily report French shin­gle MK2 has come on board to pro­duce the $15 mil­lion dol­lar movie. The based-on-a-true-story tale cen­ters on Abdul­rah­man Zeitoun, a suc­cess­ful Syrian-born paint­ing con­trac­tor who stays behind after Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina to pro­tect his busi­ness and assist in res­cue efforts, only to become wrongly sus­pected of being a ter­ror­ist. It sounds like pow­er­ful mate­r­ial, but for Demme, it was some­thing much more sim­ple that drew him to the tale.

I was star­ing at the book,” Demme told the New York Times in 2009, “and there’s this won­der­ful line draw­ing on the cover, the char­ac­ter of Zeitoun in his canoe, pad­dling through a sub­merged neigh­bor­hood. And I sud­denly imag­ined, What if we could do an ani­mated film and visu­al­ize the expe­ri­ences of the Zeitoun fam­ily and all of New Orleans?”

It would cer­tainly be a fas­ci­nat­ing approach to a sub­ject that has already seen a hand­ful of doc­u­men­taries, movies and TV series tack­ling life in the area. We’re cer­tainly glad to see it’s mov­ing for­ward, and we’re intrigued to see what Demme will come up with in his first ani­mated full length film. Pro­duc­tion will get under­way soon as the film is being prepped for a 2014 release.

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