Pint-Sized Adventurer Goes to Berlin

BERLINALE. Jannik Hastrup’s animated feature 'Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros' is world premiering in the Berlin Film Festival’s Generation Kplus competition. This is the veteran filmmaker’s eleventh trip to the Berlinale, which opens on 15 February.

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'Circleen, Coco and The Wild Rhinoceros'

Animation director Jannik Hastrup first showed in the Generation section in 1985. Now the grand old man of Danish animation is back in the Berlinale’s children’s competition for the eleventh time, this year with his feature 'Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros,' which is running in Generation Kplus.

The story has roots in the very first Circleen films, where play, friendship, imagination and solidarity with little ones are a natural part of life. No matter where you’re from. And no matter what you look like – Jannik Hastrup

'Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros' is Hastrup’s fourth feature starring Circleen, a tiny elf who sleeps in a matchbox on the artist’s drawing table.

One day, a little girl leaps from the cover of a box of cocoa into Circleen’s world. Her name is Coco and she looks exactly like Circleen – only she has dark skin, curly hair and wears a crown. She is a princess from a land where chocolate grows on trees. That’s a place Circleen’s two friends, Ingolf and Frederik, would love to visit. So Grandpa, who knows Africa like the back of his hand, flies them there in his airplane. Tagging along is Oswald, a tiny, very angry rhino, who is sick and tired of bigger creatures always running the show.

The film speaks to children of friendship and helpfulness, but also of some of the things that can test a friendship, like putting yourself first or hiding your fear, the film’s creators say.

Hastrup has been entertaining children and grownups for six decades now with such award-winning films as 'The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Bear,' 'War of the Birds,' 'Samson & Sally,' 'Benny’s Bathtub' and the many early Circleen films.

"The new Circleen films take kids on an adventure where friendship and love are overarching themes, and where the little dramas, situations and feelings that roll across the screen are the kind that small children will recognise. And so will the rest of us, if we think back. The story has roots in the very first Circleen films, where play, friendship, imagination and solidarity with little ones are a natural part of life. No matter where you’re from. And no matter what you look like," Hastrup says.

Circleen first saw the light of day in 1957, when Hanne Hastrup, Jannik's then wife, invented the character. Since then, the character has sprung to life in numerous animated shorts. In 1998, Circleen leapt onto the big screen with 'City Mice,' the first of four features produced by Jannik Hastrup and producer Marie Bro’s company Dansk Tegnefilm.

The screenplay for 'Circleen, Coco and the Wild Rhinoceros' is written by Kit Goetz, Trine Breum, Nanna Westh and Jannik Hastrup. The score is by Moussa Diallo, while Marie Bro is producing for Dansk Tegnefilm. The film is produced without public funding.

Opening the Berlinale’s Generation Kplus competition is another Danish animated feature, 'The Incredible Story of the Giant Pear.' Read update Two films in Berlin Generation.

The Berlinale runs from 15 to 25 February.

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