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Just What You've Always Wanted

The Diary Of Anne Frank Is Being Turned Into A Family-Oriented Animated Feature


Ummm…. 

This definitely sounds like the makings of a bad joke. It’s not. It’s really happening.

Ari Folman, director of the Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir, is on board to write and direct an animated feature based on the life and famous diary of Anne Frank,” write The Hollywood Reporter. “The filmmakers have been granted complete access to all of the archives of the Anne Frank Fonds Basel, founded by Anne’s father Otto Frank as well as to all the branches of the Anne Frank Fonds worldwide.”

“Bringing the Anne Frank Diary to all screens is a fantastic opportunity and challenge,” said Folman. “There is a real need for new artistic material to keep the memory alive for younger generations.”

While I agree on people continuing to learn about Frank and her family’s story, an animated family film just rubs me the wrong way. Of course that’s not to say animation can’t tackle more serious fare, Persepolis is certainly a good example, but is animation the way to go for this particular story? I believe my first introduction to The Diary of Anne Frank was when they showed us the 1980 film by Boris Sagal. I’m not sure I would have taken an animated film as seriously.

What do you think about the project?

[EDIT: Readers more familiar with Folman's work assure me this project will be good.]

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • RayG

    UmmO_o The nostalgia chick called it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GYWYcrUaJE

  • Cad Wallader

    First off, watch Waltz with Bashir. That film is an excellent documentary/animated hybrid that topped most people’s best of the year lists.
    Second, Anatasia is the most historically inaccurate tale of a murdered little girl evert turned into family fun, and that shit is beloved. There is zero way the people behind Waltz with Bashir make a bigger embarassment than that.

  • Anonymous

    Have you seen Waltz with Bashir? If you go watch that, then you’ll see that if anyone can animate The Diary of Anne Frank it’s the people who created that. This is guaranteed to be a heavy and challenging film even if it is animated and lacks swear words and nudity that would prevent it from being family friendly.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    Seriously? There’s nothing wrong with an animated film. There’s a lot of animation out there besides family entertainment and it is an incredibly powerful tool to tell stories. If “Persepolis” and “Waltz with Bashir” could do it, why not a film about Anne Frank?
    Of course it shouldn’t be turned into a Disney musical but this IS Ari Folman. Dude knows his shit.

  • http://thewickerscale.blogspot.com/ Charlotte Grote

    For that matter, since when is The Diary of Anne Frank not already family oriented subject matter? That book is taught in schools around the country and probably every middle schooler knows the broad strokes of it. It’s not like this is going to be a musical or anything, just another version of the story that uses animation to tell it. I don’t know how telling an animated adaptation of Anne Frank is more distasteful then using live action for The Book Thief, which is another Holocaust story aimed at a family audience.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    That was actually the first thing I thought of too.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    There’s nothing wrong with an animated film in theory, it just personally rubs me the wrong way in this case.

  • Cad Wallader

    Exactly. I read about Anne Frank when I was her age. I also read Maus that year. The medium doesn’t dictate the message.
    Also, am I alone not seeing where it said “family-friendly” outside of the headline? All I see is a guy nominated for cutting-edge animation about a historical event got the backing of the people in charge of securing Anne Frank’s legacy, and somehow “animated” got automatically interpreted as “family fun!”

  • Miss Cephalopod

    I just don’t see why…? It has the same potential to be serious and respectful as a live-action adaptation. It’s a medium and therefore neutral. Unless you see animation as inherently not serious/respectable enough, I really don’t see the problem. (I don’t want to make assumptions about you personally, but cannot quite follow you in your assertion. Could you elaborate?)

  • Cad Wallader

    For no reason? I see Pocahontas posted on this site every other day in her DISNEY guise, or sometimes as a Jedi or Doctor or some other fandom. Is it just too soon for Anne Frank or are you unable to see how this award winning director can combine history and animation seriously?
    In either case, watch Waltz with Bashir.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Just my initial reaction. I did mention animation can tackle serious issues in the post as well. There just wasn’t enough information given in the source post to tell me the direction the film would go in, so my mind went to less-serious, Disney-type, film. That may not be what they do at all but that’s where my mind went, hence my initial reaction.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    Fair enough. Given that you’re apparently unfamiliar with Folman’s work I can see where you’re coming from. Do take the time to look up “Waltz with Bashir”, I think somebody put it up in its entirety on YT, it might give you a different view. It’s definitely not a fun romp for the whole family TM.

  • Abigail Gruchacz

    Yeah, that’s why the idea of an animated Diary of Anne Frank rubs me the wrong way, personally. Because I automatically associate it with the NChick’s parody.

  • http://discord-inc.tumblr.com/ James Fletcher

    I think the story of Anne Frank could work as an animated film, but the “family-oriented” part does set off a few warning bells. I’m not really worried that we’re going to get musical numbers and a talking animal buddy, then them softballing some parts of the story.

    That said, I was unfamiliar with the creators so I looked up Waltz with Bashir. If the plot summary on Wikipedia is anything to go by, then I think we shouldn’t have to worry about them Disney-fying the story too much.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, Grave of the Fireflies is another good example of how to interpret a very depressing storyline and message into a phenomenal animated feature. This film shouldn’t be immediately disregarded because of its chosen medium.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    If you click over to the source link it says ”
    family-oriented animation feature.” I am unfamiliar with Waltz with Bashir so I didn’t immediately correlate the description with a more serious take.

  • Ender1200

    At first this sounds ridiculous but then you have to remember that such movie, if handled correctly can work. Targeting the “family” market makes perfect sense considering that the dairy is used in many schools too teach about the holocaust.

    The big question here is where did the money is coming from. If it’s coming from an holocaust memorial institution then the founders will make sure that the movie is respectful and educational, but if a Hollywood studio is founding this, then there is a risk that they will enforce decisions meant to increase the movie’s marketability that will be untasteful or unfaithful to the real events that took place.

  • http://whiterosebrian.tumblr.com/ White Rose Brian

    My mind went back to that set of satiric Disney-style drawings of historical women, including Anne Frank. Let’s hope it’s nothing like a stereotypical Disney movie. With that said, I can see that the filmmakers want to show people what such a life was like–let’s also hope that I’m right about that and that it’s executed well.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    I think the “family” thing definitely makes sense. My perspective, being from Germany, is that pre-teens are regularly confronted with the horrors of the Holocaust through their school education, among others through reading Anne Frank’s diary in class. It’s something that’s discussed and I know that I certainly asked my parents questions about those times while reading the book in school. Not sure what the situation is like in other countries but I always felt encouraged to talk about this subject openly with adults.

  • http://thewickerscale.blogspot.com/ Charlotte Grote

    Beisdes the excellent Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman (the Israeli born son of a Holocaust survivor) was also the director of the trippy film The Congress, featuring Robin Wright as an actress who sells an animated avatar of herself to a movie studio. This guy isn’t exactly Don Bluth, he’s a serious filmmaker who I could easily see make a respectful and thoughtful adaptation of Anne Frank’s life.

  • Cad Wallader

    Fair enough, I didn’t click over. However, just knowing who’s backing this is reassuring. And Folman is quite gifted, I’ve no doubt he’ll do right by the material and trust being granted to him.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    “I find it very odd to say that this can’t be done properly animated, or that animation is an inherently insulting medium in which to tell this story.”
    I didn’t say either of those things.

  • Anonymous

    Just, No. Does everything have to become a pitiful mockery? ‘Could work’ … ‘Might be…’ ugh. Just absolutely revolting. The Hollywood jackals will stop at nothing to make a buck – they should be charged with profiting off a Nazi murder.

  • Alexa

    I trust Ari Folman will be beyond respectful and make a great animated film since Waltz with Bashir was brilliant and The Congress looks really interesting, but still lets just hope the movie is not anything like this: http://andrewdickman.deviantart.com/art/Disney-s-Anne-Frank-279755496

    If you’re wondering this was made for a Nostalgia Chick review, so it is a joke. But still lets keep that way…

  • Mina

    I mean, if all it covers is the diary and not the stuff that comes after it, then I could see how that might work. At the same time though, you’d lose some of the power of Anne’s story.

  • Lowprices

    Just so long as it isn’t being made by the people behind either of the Titanic Animated Musicals.

  • Cad Wallader

    Easily the craziest thing I’ve read all month, and I saw someone sincerely claim that Wolverine wearing a white undershirt was the X-Men franchise advocating spousal abuse.

  • RodimusBen

    Nothing wrong with doing this in animation as long as it is respectful and true to the messages Anne Frank conveyed in her work.

  • Anonymous

    I am intrigued by this because of the director of Waltz with Bashir is involved. I assume its not being made in the US, so chances are that its not going to be the ‘Disney family friendly animated movie’ people are afraid of it becoming. I want to see what the art style will look like.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    Have you actually seen any of Ari Folman’s work? I suggest you do before making any further statements that make you look ridiculous. He’s very much in the alternative field of animation and – from what I’ve heard from people working with him – despises “Hollywood jackals”.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    We had the art director from “Waltz with Bashir” and “The Congress” teaching at our school and from what he said, the process is far from the big studio routine, involving a handful of people and such. (And on Waltz with Bashir, a pretty low budget for the actual animation.)
    Very curious for the art style too! I hope they use the style of “The Congress”, not Bashir, because I think it’s more accessible and engaging for younger viewers.

  • Gerald Kirby

    Lindsay Ellis, the Nostalgia Chick, called this a couple of years back. Here is the mock-up for the movie’s poster: http://andrewdickman.deviantart.com/art/Disney-s-Anne-Frank-279755496

  • Aila

    Hey guys, guess what? Japan already animated an Anne Frank movie.

    And it was ok. http://youtu.be/y6tWlDRnHog

  • MeatyStakes

    Yeah, if it is more Persepolis than Anastasia, it should be good

  • Ashe

    My knee-jerk reaction was one of fear and disgust. Thanks, America’s animation-age ghetto and appalling race relations.

    Holding one’s breath can be a good thing, though. This director seems quite interesting (and like he gives a shit), so I’m really curious to see where this goes.

  • Ashe

    SHHHHH we’re all still trying to forget

  • javakoala

    There aren’t enough side-eye gifs on Tumblr to express my feelings.

  • Lowprices

    NEVER FORGET. NEVER FORGIVE.

  • Anonymous

    It’s like “The Sound of Music”- except this time the Nazis win!

  • Anonymous

    There was already an animated movie. It was… not good. Hopefully this one will be better.

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    Reminded me of the hilariously inappropriately out of context Anastasia.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps, but I have every right to be unimpressed with what Hollywood and the movie ‘industry’ churns out. And I hate that society has stooped to having to have everything depicted in pictures, rather than read her on words and come up with their own. I have no faith that anyone can interpret or portray the mind and thoughts of this young woman effectively. Some things just need to be left alone.

  • Anonymous

    Why? For disagreeing with the rah-rah-rah brigades? Funny this contextual subject might apply directly to large groups of lemmings following along…

  • Anonymous

    You know that lemmings don’t actually do that, right?

  • Anonymous

    Actually someone has already made one (hah, knew i wasn’t crazy and had heard of this before!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_no_Nikki

  • Miss Cephalopod

    What Richard Grant said. This man made a movie about his experiences as a soldier in the 1982 Lebanon war, something I haven’t spent much of my life thinking about. I watched the movie because it seemed interesting to me as an animation student. The result is that I was confronted with horrible tragedies that happened in the world, with one point of view on an important historical event, that led to me search out more knowledge about this particular event.
    I also don’t see why we have “stooped” to having pictures. Human beings have communicated through visuals (non-verbal gestures) and the spoken word for much longer than through written words. They are not inferior media. They are simply different and if a single child, a single person on this planet, that would otherwise not have read the book, becomes exposed to Anne Frank’s story through this film, I’m all for it.
    I think it’s important to have her actual written diary out there and get people to read it. But I don’t think that that should preclude any other attempt to get people to take notice of her story.

  • Miss Cephalopod

    Because, you know, nobody here has reasons to believe in what they say or tries to explain why they hold these views. We’re all just “the rah-rah-rah brigades”. We all just want a Disney musical in a concentration camp.

  • Ender1200

    “Wolverine wearing a white undershirt” What in hell? Oh, he’s wearing a “wife beater”! still crazy.

  • Ana KH

    You might not have meant to say either of those things, but that’s how I read what you wrote in the original article, as did a majority of the people who have commented on the article.

    It wasn’t until you clarified in another comment thread that your post was written out of ignorance of the creator of this particular work and your own bias that ‘animation = Disney’ that I could see why you would be concerned about this project outside of a judgement on animation as a whole.

  • ZeonChar

    Have you seen “Waltz with Bashir?” If anyone can do it right, this guy can. “Waltz with Bashir” was dark, gritty, grim, and emotionally gripping. I can see this animation being a lot like Persepolis, Maus, and Waltz. It’s not even like the book was anything more than PG. It can still be family friendly while capturing the essence of the book.

  • ZeonChar

    Go watch Waltz with Bashir or Grave of the Fireflies and come back and tell me that it cannot be done for Anne Frank.