Sylvain Chomet

Sylvain Chomet (French: [ʃɔmɛ]; born 10 November 1963) is a French comic writer, animator and film director.

Sylvain Chomet
Sylvain Chomet, auteur du spectacle musical Les Triplettes de Belleville dans Go Ouest.jpg
Chomet in 2014
Born (1963-11-10) 10 November 1963 (age 58)
OccupationFilm director, animator, comic writer
Notable work
The Old Lady and the Pigeons
The Triplets of Belleville
Paris, je t'aime
The Illusionist
Attila Marcel

Early careerEdit

Born in Maisons-Laffitte, Seine-et-Oise (now Yvelines), near Paris, he studied art at high school until he graduated in 1982. Chomet moved to London in 1988 to work as an animator at the Richard Purdum studio. In September of that year, he established a freelance practice, working on commercials for clients such as Principality, Renault, Swinton and Swissair.

In addition to his animation career, Chomet has created many print comics, starting in 1986 with Secrets of the Dragonfly. In 1992 Chomet wrote the script for a science fiction comic called The Bridge in Mud. 1993 saw Chomet writing the story for Léon-la-Came, which was drawn by Nicolas de Crécy for À Suivre magazine. This was published in 1995 and won the René Goscinny Prize in 1996. In 1997, Chomet published Ugly, Poor, and Sick, again with Nicolas de Crécy. This won them the Alph-Art Best Comic Prize at the Angoulême Comics Festival.

The Old Lady and the PigeonsEdit

In 1991, Chomet started work on his first animated film, The Old Lady and the Pigeons[1] (La Vieille Dame et les pigeons), with backgrounds designed by de Crécy. In 1993, Chomet moved to Canada. During 1995 and 1996, he finished work on The Old Lady and the Pigeons. The short film won him a BAFTA, the Grand Prize at the 1997 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, the Cartoon d'or prize, as well as the Audience Prize and Jury Prize at the Angers Premiers Plans Festival. It also received an Academy Award nomination for best animated short film.[1]

The Triplets of BellevilleEdit

Chomet's first feature-length animated film, The Triplets of Belleville (Les Triplettes de Belleville, or Belleville Rendez-vous in the UK) was also nominated for two Oscars in 2003 (Best Animated Feature and Best Song), and introduced Chomet's name to a much wider audience.

Upon the release of The Triplets of Belleville, Nicolas de Crécy accused Chomet of plagiarising his work, citing it as the reason for the dissolution of their collaboration.[2][3] The visual style of The Triplets of Belleville closely resembles the earlier work of Nicolas de Crécy's 1994 graphic novel Le Bibendum Céleste.[4]

The IllusionistEdit

Chomet's next film was The Illusionist (L'Illusionniste), which premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2010,[5] after many delays (it was first planned for release in 2007).[6] The Illusionist, like Chomet's previous work, has its roots in mid twentieth century popular French culture. It is based on an unproduced script that Jacques Tati had written in 1956[7][8] as a personal letter to his estranged eldest daughter,[9][10] and stars an animated version of Tati himself. It was originally conceived by Tati as a journey of love and discovery that takes two characters across western Europe to Prague.[11] Chomet says that "Tati wanted to move from purely visual comedy and try an emotionally deeper story"[7] and states that "It's not a romance, it's more the relationship between a dad and a daughter".[12] It cost an estimated £10 million to make, and was funded by Pathé Pictures.

According to the 2006 reading of the Illusionist script at the London Film School, introduced by Chomet, "The great French comic Jacques Tati wrote the script of The Illusionist and intended to make it as a live-action film with his daughter."[13]

Other projectsEdit

Another project, Barbacoa, originally stated to be released in late 2005, was canceled because of lack of funding. Also, The Tale of Despereaux was to be Chomet's first computer-animated film, scheduled to come to American theaters Christmas 2008, but direction shifted to Sam Fell after the production studio dismissed Chomet.[14] Chomet, for his part, says that he could not stand the creative environment.[15]

In 2005, he directed a segment for the collaborative film Paris, je t'aime; he was assigned the 7th arrondissement (the Eiffel Tower). It was Chomet's first work in live-action. He even directed adverts for Fairy Non Bio, which funded research for special care babies by teaming up with Bliss.

In 2014, a couch gag directed by Chomet aired for an episode of The Simpsons.[16] The weekly entertainment-trade magazine Variety also announced that Chomet was moving forward with The Thousand Miles, a mix of live-action and animation based on various works of Federico Fellini, including his "unpublished drawings and writings", with a screenplay by Tommaso Rossellini and Demian Gregory.[17] Work was later developed to include producer credit from Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy.

In 2015, Chomet directed and co-wrote the animated music video "Carmen" for Belgian musician Stromae.[18]

In 2016, Chomet produced the illustrations for Caleb's Cab, a children's book written by his wife, Sally.[19]

In 2021, it was announced that Chomet would direct a Marcel Pagnol biopic, The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol.[20]

Django FilmsEdit

In the mid-2000s, Chomet founded Django Films, an animation studio in Edinburgh, Scotland. The studio was set up with the ambition of establishing itself in both animation and live-action filmmaking, but now is being dismantled. During its lifespan, Django was beset with production difficulties, first losing funding for what was to be its first animated feature, Barbacoa, about a group of animals who attempt an escape from the zoo during the Paris Commune. Another major setback was the studio's failure to secure funding for The Clan, its animated sitcom for the BBC. The show would have focused on the lives of the dysfunctional inhabitants of a fictional Scottish island, and was labelled "a Scottish Simpsons".[11] Then came the very public sacking of Chomet as the director for The Tale of Despereaux.[21][22] As reported by Scotland on Sunday in 2005, Django never got close to employing the 250 artists that it would have required for either Despereaux or The Illusionist (finally produced in 2010), as the two films were originally to be produced simultaneously.[23] Chomet has been critical of the standard of British art schools and their lack of ability to produce sufficiently skilled animators in large enough numbers required for his Edinburgh studio.[11]

Post-Django filmsEdit

Chomet has said that he would like to do his next film either in 3D animation or live-action.[24]



  1. ^ a b "The films of Sylvain Chomet". 19 September 2013.
  3. ^ Clémentine Gallot (24 November 2008). "Un pape de la BD française en visite à New York | France-Amérique". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  4. ^ Belleville rendez vous (26 February 2004). "Les Triplettes de Crécy". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Berlinale press release". Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  6. ^ 27 Nov :37 GMT 2004. "Drawing on the spirit of Tati". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b Susan Thompson Last updated (22 November 2003). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  8. ^ Willmore, Alison (21 February 2007). "In the works: A black and white doc about shades of grey. – Indie Eye – Blogs". Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  9. ^ Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "La postérité de M. Hulot – le portail des livres et des idées". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  11. ^ a b c unknown (17 December 2006). "Scotlands Simpsons The Clan". Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  12. ^ Susan Thompson Last updated (22 November 2003). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ Cieply, Michael (27 September 2008). "A Battle Erupts Over the Credits for the Animated Feature 'The Tale of Despereaux'". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  15. ^ "New animation from Sylvian Chomet | The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log". 22 June 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  16. ^ Fox (6 March 2014). "WATCH this uniquely..." Twitter. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Sylvain Chomet Steps Up for The Thousand Miles in Variety
  18. ^ Stromae - Carmen on YouTube (09 Dec 2017)
  19. ^ "Caleb's Cab: Sally and Sylvain Chomet interview". 15 December 2016.
  20. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (15 June 2021). "Sylvain Chomet to Helm 'The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  21. ^ Cieply, Michael (27 September 2008). "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  22. ^ New animated film depicting Edinburgh in the 50s hailed as a masterpiece. Edinburgh News. 18 February 2010
  23. ^ Animation World Network (19 September 2005). "Chomets' Studio Draws Animators to Scotland". AWN.Com. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  24. ^ "Exclusive: 'Illusionist' Director Sylvain Chomet Talks Jacques Tati, & Why His Next Film Will Be 3D | Filmmakers, Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | indieWIRE". Archived from the original on 27 April 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.

External linksEdit