Toonz Media Group Announces Co-Production of “Bartali’s Bicycle”

Toonz Media Group partners with Lynx Multimedia Factory, Rai Ragazzi and Telegael to co-produce the 2D animated feature film, Bartali’s bike (working title). The film is inspired by the daring acts of humanitarian courage of legendary road cyclist Gino Bartali during World War II. The film targets children ages 7 and up and their families, and will reflect the themes of tolerance, teamwork and diversity. Its release is scheduled for early 2023.

Set in the modern Middle East, the 80-minute feature follows two young boys from rival communities who are brought together by their shared love of cycling. The story is woven around Bartali’s impressive work for Holocaust victims during World War II.

Development, pre-production and post-production footage for the film will be handled by Lynx Studio in Italy while animation production will be done at Toonz Studios in India. Final backgrounds and sound post-production will be done at Ireland’s Emmy Award-winning studio and group company Toonz Telegael, who will also handle some pre-production elements. It will be distributed in Italy by RAI with Toonz and TVCO responsible for worldwide distribution.

Enrico Paolantonio (The Extraordinary Adventures of Jules Verne and Egyxos) is directing as director with Sabrina Callipari as production manager. Based on an original idea by the late Roman writer Israel Cesare Moscati (“A Starry Sky Above the Roman Ghetto”) who developed the subject and screenplay with Marco Beretta (Foot 2 Street Extreme). Character designs are by Italian comic artist Corrado Mastantuono (“Nick Raider” and “Magico Vento”) with illustrator Andrea Pucci as background artist. Valentina Mazzola (Andra and Tati’s star) is the script editor.

Bartali saved many Jewish lives during the Nazi occupation of Italy by hiding their documents in his bicycle. The feature film begins sixty years later, when Bartali’s bicycle becomes the tool and symbol of victory for David, an intelligent and sensitive Jewish boy. David accepts the challenge of winning a cycling championship with his Arab friend Ibrahim, breaking the rules but bringing peace and tolerance between their communities.

Bartali’s bike is a story that will resonate with audiences around the world,” commented Toonz Media Group CEO P. Jayakumar. “This is exactly the kind of story that Toonz is committed to telling the younger generation. This is, indeed, a prestigious project for Toonz and we are very happy to team up with our incredible partners. Lynx, Rai Ragazzi, TVCO and Telegael for this international co-production.

“Gino Bartali was not only a great cycling champion, but a man who risked his life to fight against racism and discrimination and for that he was honored as a Righteous Among the Nations,” said the director of RAI Kids, Luca Milano. “In a world still plagued by wars and conflicts, his fast and brave bike is a symbol of peace for children and families. This is why RAI promoted the project of this important film from the very beginning.

“We are so proud to be in co-production for the film Bartali’s bike with Toonz Media Group, a large international animation group, and Rai Ragazzi who, from the beginning, believed in this project”, added Evelina Poggi, CEO of Lynx Multimedia Factory. “It is wonderful to share with our partners themes such as solidarity in sport, altruism in life, friendship that trumps everything, and to deepen important topics such as the Holocaust and the civil coexistence and trying the best way to represent them in animation.”

Bartali’s bike is a story of human endurance and confidence that has deep and distant roots in the true story of the rescue of hundreds of Jews during the German occupation of Italy by a cycling legend: Gino Bartali,” said Vincenzo Mosca, TVCO CEO. “We can’t wait to bring this animated film to the global market and help bring this story to everyone around the world.”

Source: Toonz Media Group

Debbie Diamond Sarto's photo

Debbie Diamond Sarto is associate editor at Animation World Network.

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