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 “fully on my own” and lamented the dearth 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 Facet of Hope on the Berlinale. It doesn’t actually have a lot to do with my quick movie however, whereas I used to be drawing, I typically thought concerning the movie and the director’s framing selections”) and manufacturing strategies (“I drew primarily in Photoshop, with a mouse as a result of unusually 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 paintings from Chernysheva’s movie.

The movie she was speaking about, nonetheless, was a commencement undertaking 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 clarification.

Chernysheva, who’s well-known on the earth of quick movie and whose work has been lined 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 received 17 worldwide prizes, together with finest movie by an rising director on the Chicago Int’l Kids’s Movie Competition and the viewers award on the New York Int’l Kids’s Movie Competition. As well as, Chernysheva advised Cartoon Brew that there are numerous witnesses who noticed her engaged on the movie, together with academics 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 supply my movie” since Chernysheva doesn’t know De Cola nor recollects ever assembly her.

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

Chernysheva first discovered of the theft of her movie from the French studio Folimage, which can be the distributor of her movie in France. “They advised me somebody within the committee of Clermont Ferrand Movie Competition acknowledged it,” she mentioned. “Snowflake is well-known in France. Actually 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, nevertheless it was evidently unclear to the movie’s Italian distributor Zen Film and producer/agent A Little Confidence. Upon studying of the scenario, the 2 firms collectively launched a press release on December 5 that they might take away the movie from festivals attributable to “deep considerations concerning potential violations of pageant rules.”

They went on to additional say:

In specifying that Ms. Brunella De Cola continues to be affirming herself because the proprietor of the rights of the movie, the undersigned, given the adversarial revindications, have determined to instantly cease the distribution of the quick 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, probably the most acceptable options with a purpose to make clear the efficient chain of rights of the quick movie and, if obligatory, will take any additional motion aimed toward defending their pursuits {and professional} repute.

Prepared to revive the belief within the skilled exercise that we feature on with seriousness and love, we ship the perfect 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 isn’t 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 isn’t his, regardless of him being credited. He defined that he had composed a light-weight jazz piece with piano, drums, and double bass referred to as “Away from House” whereas he was finding out music. (Cartoon Brew has been in a position to 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 “varied take a look at clips” all through the manufacturing course of. Nevertheless, the ultimate movie accommodates 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 12 months for award consideration to the Academy, however the group has since eliminated the movie from competition 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 individual’s work underneath their very own identify.

Whereas no authorized motion has been initiated as of but in opposition to De Cola, there may be widespread consciousness within the movie pageant neighborhood 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 House not be programmed into any occasions.

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

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

Our animation neighborhood stands behind the rights of animation artists.

Our animation neighborhood helps one another.

We abhor this example, the place the work of an artist isn’t revered.

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

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