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Jojo Rabbit

Taika Cohen and Taika Waititi, one and the same overachiever extraordinaire.

by emira » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:52 pm

A new film by Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”, is amongst the 36 projects to have been selected for Rotterdam’s 29th co-production market CineMart.

The films, selected from 465 entries, will be presented to approximately 850 potential co-financiers during the event, which takes place January 29 – February 1, 2012.

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The first co-production market of its kind, CineMart offers filmmakers the opportunity to launch their ideas to the international film industry and to find the right connections to get their projects launched. Launching about 35 new projects in need of additional financing, CineMart also heralds an important start of the ‘film year’.

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#cheer# #excited2#
emira
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by emira » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:45 am

Taika Waititi will attend the 2012 Berlinale with his new film project (currently in development) JOJO RABBIT (2012).

source

Festival Scope
Here comes the last CineMart director from our previous newsletter (that's right, check your mailboxes!) and the trailer of his 2010 film BOY! Do not miss the opportunity to support Taika Waititi's next project JOJO RABBIT which participates also in the Co-Production Market at Berlin International Film Festival!

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#cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer# #cheer#
emira
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by emira » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:58 pm

So, the World War II comedy is "Jojo Rabbit"

Posted: Wed., Feb. 1, 2012, 12:32pm PT
Producers upbeat at Rotterdam's CineMart

[...]

Chelsea Winstanley, of New Zealand's Defender Films, came to Rotterdam looking for German or Austrian co-producers for Taika Waititi's "Jojo Rabbit," about a 10-year-old boy in wartime Vienna who aspires to be the world's best Nazi. The response has been very positive, she said. "We're in the fortunate position of being able to choose."

[...]

source

I find this information after I had asked Taika about this film on Reddit. Here's his reply,

Jojo has been getting a lot of support and I'm confident we'll shoot this year sometime. Or after Euro Winter in '13.


#cheer# #excited2#
emira
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by emira » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:15 am

@thespiguatieri A dream came true today, covering a script by my idol @TaikaWaititi http://instagr.am/p/JQla3Eirif/

Image


#excited#
emira
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by emira » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:04 pm

I think I'd read something about it before, but I forgot about it.

[...]
[Christine Leunens]'s second novel, Caging Skies, was published by Random House New Zealand in 2008 and received praise in the New Zealand Listener, NZ Women’s Weekly, El País, La Stampa, Le Nouvel Observateur, Le Monde, etc. Film rights were sold to Defender Films Ltd and the adaptation, Jojo Rabbit, is being structured as a New Zealand - German - American Production to be filmed by Taika Waititi in 2013.
[...]

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Press reviews for Caging Skies

“Christine Leunens’ novel Caging Skies begins in Austria at the time of its annexation to the German Reich. Narrator Johannes Betzler is [. . .] a boy who innocently embraces the Nazi dream. He becomes a member of the Hitler Youth but soon makes a devastating discovery: his parents are hiding Elsa, a young Jewish woman, behind a false wall in their house. That parents became afraid of their children is an electrifying element of the time. It’s rich ground for fiction. The Betzler family is a vital, believable group. For the reader, drawn into the subtle interactions of the Betzler house, Leunens’ clear, elegant prose and sometimes blackly comic tone, this would be satisfying enough. There is more to come, however. The madness of the war has entered Johannes.”
Charlotte Grimshaw in the New Zealand Listener

“The opening lines of Christine Leunens’s novel are more like poetry than prose. Certainly, it presents a fascinating psychological study in self-justification. Leunens has an ear for language and the ability to create a vividly sensual world for her characters that I found highly satisfying.”
Cushla McKinney in the Otago Daily Times

“Totally compelling.”
Woman’s Weekly (NZ)

“Leunens has created a powerful, imaginative and clever psychological drama. In dealing with obsessive love and self-delusion, she views truth and lies at the political and personal level.”
Nelson Mail (NZ)

“A novel that breaks all the rules. In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the result is a disturbing and gripping novel that has haunted me ever since I finished reading it.”
New Zealand Books

“Leunens is a practised hand at quarrying the strange and powerful.”
David Cohen in the New Zealand Listener

“A fine range of psychological relationships going on through this big story. It is a major ambition and significant accomplishment as a book. Leunens does a remarkable job capturing the nature of the two people and the complicated relationships among them. An imaginative novel, daring, singular, adventurous. I’m commending it as much as recommending it.”
David Hill on Nine to Noon, Radio NZ National

“So vividly written about that appeal Hitler Youth had on these young vulnerable kids.”
Lynn Freeman on The Arts Programme, Radio NZ National

“The best part of this interesting novel is its ability to show parts of our history which others dismiss: why suffering can make some people more sensitive but others more cruel, and how a war, such an outrage to human dignity, blurs the line between the victorious and defeated.”
Elle

“A complex story of dark love.”
R. Garzon in El País

“An analysis of the uncontrollable fecundity of a lie, which gives way to life and concrete experience. The lie doesn’t mystify or disown reality, but rather becomes the plasma of one’s desires and the adjusting to one’s necessities. The liar himself falls into a spiral of self deception until he consciously cages himself in a virtual universe, whereby the internal truth and false, fiction and authentic constitute one.”
Ruggero Bianchi in La Stampa

“Rare. Powerful. Keep an eye on this writer.”
RadioRai2

“The writing of Christine Leunens is a real pleasure to read and boasts beautiful stylistic finds. Caging Skies is a successful autopsy of the empire of passions. It is impossible to never recognise oneself in the setbacks of the protagonist.”
Aurélia di Donato in Evene

“One wonders why this beautiful, strange and terrible subject had never been taken before. A little shorter, it would have been a masterpiece. But as it is, the book fascinates and leaves a rare impression of strangeness and power.”
Dominique Fernandez in Le Nouvel Observateur

“It is a beautiful novel, powerful, different, and ambitious. It explores a less rare from of relationship, it appears, than one believes: love so total that it locks up, isolates and colonises the partner until destruction; annihilates the outside world. This kind of passion naturally implies the lie, the dressing up of realities and the construction of a wall to protect itself. It’s without a doubt in the malaise one feels when reading Caging Skies that one recognises the surprising, surprising power of the novel. A profound malaise, which lasts well after the read, sign of a very rare power, that of a truly good book, which knows how to carry the reader into a story. Christine Leunens [. . .] always has the immense merit of surprising and captivating. Caging Skies is one of these books that cannot be forgotten.”
Jean Soublin in Le Monde

source
emira
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by emira » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:21 am

Jojo Rabbit
Taika Waititi
New Zealand, USA

Taika Waititi is a writer, director, actor, and visual artist, who hails from the Raukorekore region on the east coast of New Zealand. He has been involved in the film industry for several years, initially as an actor, and now focusing on writing and directing. He wrote, directed and acted in his first feature film Eagle vs. Shark which was screened in Rotterdam in 2007. The same goes for his second feature, Boy (2010), which was presented at CineMart in 2009, and premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Boy later became New Zealand’s highest grossing local film of all time.

Introduction
Ten year old Jojo Betzler is going to be the best Nazi in the world. The only thing standing in his way are his mother, a hand-grenade, and the girl in the attic.

Synopsis
It's 1944 and ten year-old Jojo is an avid member of the Viennese Hitler Youth. He tries to be the best Nazi he can be but he's clumsy, timid, and lacks the necessary discipline.
After a rousing pep-talk from his fantasy friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo accidentally blows himself up with a hand-grenade, thus destroying his dreams of being a soldier. He resigns himself to handing out propaganda around the city and collecting junk for the war effort. Jojo's world gets turned upside down again when he discovers his mother has been hiding a young Jewish girl, Elsa, in their attic. Getting questionable advice from his fantasy friend Hitler, Jojo starts learning more about this strange creature, visiting every day in the hope that he can find out more about Jews and their secrets for his new book 'Yoohoo Jew'. Jojo soon finds himself falling for the girl, and is now torn between his loyalty to Hitler and his obsession with this beautiful, but untouchable Jew.
And so begins a relationship of clouded loyalties and twisted obsessions. Jojo tries to make Elsa’s life more comfortable, more bearable, whilst watching the great German empire slowly crumble around him. His loyalties are pushed to breaking point when he discovers the cruel reality of war, no matter what side you are on. He is confronted with the disturbing discovery of his mother, hanged with resistance member in the street. This shared loss brings Jojo and Elsa together, thus plummeting Jojo even deeper in love with her. Elsa is now becoming weaker and caring less and less about living. Food is scarce, the Russians are coming.
When the Allies liberate Vienna, the war is over and Jojo’s Nazi dreams are shattered. Jojo can’t face the idea of losing Elsa so he tells the ultimate lie - Hitler has won the war. She must now live in the house with him forever.
The lie doesn’t last long. However, after experiencing prejudice and cruelty at the hands of the new Soviet rulers and realizing that everyone can become a victim, he understands he cannot keep Elsa caged forever. He sets her free, and in doing so, releases himself from Hitler’s grip. He ends his friendship with the fantasy Hitler, and although we do not know what the future holds for the children, we know that no matter what, Jojo will survive and be better off.

Director's statement
I have a fascination with the Second World War and, coming from a Jewish heritage, have always wanted to explore how the persecuted survived and who it was that helped them. I am interested in how the insanity of war brings out and influences different human behaviours, especially those of children. This story asks many questions about the loss of innocence and the things we do to survive within the chaos and hysteria of war. The themes of adults becoming children and children parenting adults are common in my work, I find this dynamic interesting and when you tell a story from a child’s point of view you open up a world of creative possibilities. This story concentrates more on children parenting each other, guiding one another through a chaotic and often surreal landscape where life and death are at every turn. I’ve always wanted to do a love story between two enemies, to explore how diametrically opposed minds can slowly change and become one, while setting this relationship against the intense and dangerous backdrop of war.
As can be seen in my previous work I am particularly interested in seeing the world of adults through children’s eyes. I love how children see the world, how they make sense of the crazy way that adults fumble their way through life. It is a view often unclouded and uncomplicated, children tell it like it is while reinventing the world to suit their own needs, using imagination and a kind of spontaneous logic. There is no doubt that the Second World War was a time where common sense went out the window; war turns society and sanity upon their heads. It is within this world that Anne Frank once wrote “I live in a crazy time”. How does a child make sense of the world around them plunged into war? What do they think of a world where grown-ups have become lunatics and behave like insane people?
So here we have a story of two children, deprived of their innocence, forced to enter into a bizarre world where they must take part in an absurdist play written by grown-ups. And this is the story I’m excited by; a situation that we understand as deeply wrong, played out by the innocent. Comedy is life’s great counterbalance. Without it we would live in a world of drama and depression. When you can find a balance between comedy and drama in a story, you recreate life, because life is always a combination of the two. I know this film can be told in a number of ways but to see the subject matter through a comic lens emphasizes dramatic beats, highlights innocence of character, and subverts the underlying message that war is absurd. I do not see it as trivializing the holocaust or making light of the savage brutality of the Nazi regime; this is a tale about a ten year-old torn between his love of Hitler, and a Jewish girl. If anything this story promotes love, loyalty and the strange journeys we make towards finding truth within ourselves. After reading the novel ('Caging Skies' by Christine Leunens), the story of Johannes and Elsa stuck in my head and I became obsessed with making it into a film. I am excited by the subject matter, characters, and narrative; it is the kind of story that fits perfectly with my style and sensibility and I see it as a fantastic development in my career.

Company Profile
Defender Films

Defender Films is a New Zealand based company which has been at the forefront of Taika Waititi’s career. Defender is the company behind the Oscar nominated short film Two Cars One Night (2004) and the international award winning Tama Tu (2005). Defender also developed the screenplays Eagle vs Shark (2007) and Boy (2010), the latest was presented at CineMart 2009. Boy went on to become New Zealand’s highest grossing locally made film of all time. Most recently Chelsea Winstanley has joined the company as a delegate producer and along with Taika Waititi they aim to bring Jojo Rabbit to the world.

Unison Films

Unison Films is a New York based film and distribution company founded in 2004 by producer Emanuel Michael. Through Unison, Emanuel Michael has produced over ten feature films, upcoming releases include Fernando Meirelles 360 (2011), Mike Newell's Great Expectations (2012) and Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet (2011). Unison Films have co-produced both Taika Waititi's previous feature films BOY (2010) and Eagle vs. Shark (2007), which premiered at Sundance, and was selected for several international film festivals including the IFFR and Berlinale.

Current Status
Second draft of the script available. 30% funding secured from the New Zealand Film Commission and 35% financing secured from Unison Films.

Goals at the CineMart
We are looking for co-production partners, distribution and world sales. Particularly interested in Germany and Austria as co-production partners.

Previous work
The feature film Boy (2010) by Taika Waititi is available in the Video Library and on Festival Scope.

International Film Festival Rotterdam
emira
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