Films Boutique Acquires Hungarian/Slovak Animated Sci-Fi White Plastic Sky

    White Plastic Sky by Sarolta Szabó and Tibor Bánóczki White Plastic Sky by Sarolta Szabó and Tibor Bánóczki credit: SALTO Films/Artichoke

    BUDAPEST: The Berlin-based outlet Films Boutique has picked up the post-apocalyptic animated sci-fi White Plastic Sky / Műanyag Égbolt directed by Sarolta Szabó and Tibor Bánóczki. The Hungarian/Slovak coproduction imagines, using rotoscope animation, a dystopian future when the remnants of humanity live in isolation under a huge glass dome in Budapest.

    The rotoscope animation, which implies tracing over live-action footage frame by frame, was something that the directors had in mind for their first long animated film from the very beginning.“We thought of it as a kind of mix of live-action and animated film, as it requires a very strong acting presence. We shot it with actors, so we would have a foundation that we could redraw”, explained the directors.

    All the characters are drawn by hand, so the emotions expressed by the actors, even their smallest vibrations, could be shown in detail. The two main characters are played by Tamás Keresztes and Zsófia Szamosi, and the cast includes Géza D. Hegedűs, Judit Schell, István Znamenák, Zsolt Nagy, Márton Patkós and Renátó Olasz.

    As the script is built around a nutritious plant that allows people to survive but which in turn needs human flesh to grow, Bánoczki and Szabó imagined a couple whose wife decides to volunteer as a host for the plant.

    “It is not possible to force the film into a single genre. It's an eco-dystopian sci-fi, a love story and a road film at the same time”, Tibor Bánóczki told FNE. “But in addition to depicting a dystopia, our goal was that the story should also work on an emotional level”, Szabó added.

    The film is also intended to raise questions about the present, but without the intention of being an ecological parable. “We want the film to generate a discussion about what surrounds us today and where humanity is headed”, Szabó also said.

    The budget of 2.4 m EUR was gradually collected from various sources. Firstly, the project was supported by the Incubator Programme of the Hungarian National Film Fund and later it received production support from the National Film Institute – Hungary. The total support was 904,898 EUR / 300 m HUF.

    White Plastic Sky by Sarolta Szabó and Tibor Bánóczki, credit: SALTO Films/ArtichokeThe Hungarian production company Salto Films was then joined by Slovak Artichoke, which received support from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and the RTVS – Radio and Television Slovakia. Hungarian Proton Cinema joined as a coproducer. The Hungarian producers are József Fülöp and Orsolya Sipos, the coproducer is Viktória Petrányi and the Slovak producer is Juraj Krasnohorsky.

    In 2020, Eurimages awarded 400,000 EUR to the film.

    The film was also supported by the Hungarian Film Incentive, the Slovak Cash Rebate and the Lithuanian tax incentive via the service partner Studio Nunc.

    After a first run on the festival circuit, White Plastic Sky is set to be theatrically released in 2023.

    Both Sarolta Szabó and Tibor Bánóczki graduated in London, Szabó from the Royal College of Art and Bánoczki from the National Film and Television School. They co-directed several successful short animated films including Les Conquérants (2012), which screened at the Sundance Film Festival, and Leftover (2015), which won the ACSE Award at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short FF.