Sylvain Chomet

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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 59)
  • Comic writer
  • animator
  • film director
Notable workThe Triplets of Belleville
The Illusionist
SpouseSally Chomet

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

Early career[edit]

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 de Crécy. This won them the Alph-Art Best Comic Prize at the Angoulême Comics Festival.

Film career[edit]

In 1991, Chomet started work on his first animated film, The Old Lady and the Pigeons, with backgrounds designed by Nicolas de Crécy. 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 a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Chomet's first feature-length animated film, The Triplets of Belleville was also nominated for two Oscars in 2003 (Best Animated Feature and Best Song), and introduced Chomet's name to a much wider audience.[1]

Upon the film's release, de Crécy accused Chomet of plagiarizing 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 de Crécy's 1994 graphic novel Le Bibendum Céleste.[4]

In 2004, Chomet founded Django Films, an animation studio based in Edinburgh, Scotland. The studio was set up with the ambition of establishing itself in both animation and live-action filmmaking, but has since been dismantled due to several production difficulties, first losing funding for what was to be the studio's first animated feature, Barbacoa, to have been directed by Chomet.[5] Another major setback was the studio's failure to secure funding for The Clan, an animated sitcom for BBC.[6]

In 2006, he directed a segment for the collaborative film Paris, je t'aime; he was assigned the 7th arrondissement of Paris segment "Tour Eiffel". It was Chomet's first work in live-action.

After many delays, Chomet directed The Illusionist, which premiered at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival in February 2010.[7][8] The film was based on an unproduced script that Jacques Tati had written in 1956 as a personal letter to his estranged eldest daughter and stars an animated version of Tati himself.[9][10][11][12] It was originally conceived by Tati as a journey of love and discovery that takes two characters across Western Europe to Prague. Chomet says that "Tati wanted to move from purely visual comedy and try an emotionally deeper story" and states that "It's not a romance, it's more the relationship between a dad and a daughter".[9][13] The film cost an estimated $17 million to make, and was funded by Pathé Pictures.

In 2013, Chomet directed his first live-action film, the romantic musical-comedy Attila Marcel. Filming took place in Paris from mid-July 2012 and lasted 46 days.[14] The film premiered in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[15] Chomet also co-composed the music for the film. It was released in France by Pathé Distribution on 30 October 2013. It had 43,645 admissions in France.[16]

In 2014, a couch gag directed by Chomet aired for The Simpsons episode "Diggs". It depicts the family running to the couch until the lights go off. Marge leaves to fix the fuse, and when the lights go up, the characters are drawn Triplets of Belleville-style and everything has a French aesthetic to it. Bart plays with a do-it-yourself foie gras kit, Lisa plays an accordion, Marge cries out, "Maggie? Où est Maggie?" and Homer gets up and eats a snail off the TV, oblivious that Maggie is stuck between his butt cheeks.[17]

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

In 2016, Chomet directed the short film Merci Monsieur Imada.[19] Later that year, Chomet produced the illustrations for Caleb's Cab, a children's book written by his wife, Sally.[20]

Unrealized and upcoming projects[edit]

In 2004, Chomet announced plans to direct Barbacoa, a film about a group of escaped zoo animals set during the 1871 Paris Commune produced by Django Films.[21] Originally stated to be released in late 2005, the film was canceled because of lack of funding. Another production, an unnamed 3D project in collaboration with Miramax division Dimension Films, was also announced.[22]

In 2006, Django Films was reported to be producing The Clan, a animated sitcom pilot for BBC to be directed by Chomet. The show, described as "manic" and "surreal", was to have focused on the lives of the dysfunctional inhabitants of a fictional Scottish island, and was labeled "a Scottish Simpsons".[23]

In the mid-2000s, Chomet was hired to direct The Tale of Despereaux. The film's production was marred by disagreements and malpractice, or accusations thereof, between the French, British and North American staff involved. Chomet came up against creative and ethical differences with the producers and was eventually fired from the project and thrown out of the studio space allocated to the film.[24] The film was ultimately directed by Sam Fell.[25]

In 2012, Chomet was in the early stages of working on a prequel to The Triplets of Belleville entitled Swing Poppa Swing to focus on the early lives of the elderly singing triplets from the first film.[26]

In 2014, Chomet announced plans to direct 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.[27] Work was later developed to include producer credit from Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy. On January 5, 2016, Variety reported that Chomet was moving forward with the film after a lengthy development process, and was expected for a 2017 release.[28] Since then, there has been no news.

In March 2018, it was reported that Chomet would direct an animated adaptation of Hwang Sok-yong's novel Familiar Things. Chomet was inspired to adapt the novel after becoming interested in Korean culture particularly after seeing the films of Park Chan-wook.[29]

In June 2021, it was announced that Chomet would direct a Marcel Pagnol biopic, The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol.[30]


Year Original French Title English Title Director Writer Editor Notes
1997 La vieille dame et les pigeons The Old Lady and the Pigeons Yes Yes No Short film
2003 Les Triplettes de Belleville The Triplets of Belleville Yes Yes No
2006 Paris, je t'aime Paris, I Love You Partial Partial No Segment: "Tour Eiffel"
2010 L'Illusionniste The Illusionist Yes Yes Yes Original story by Jacques Tati
2013 Attila Marcel Yes Yes No
2016 Merci Monsieur Imada Thank You Mister Imada Yes Yes No Short film
2024 The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol Yes Yes No Upcoming[31]


  1. ^ "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. ^ DeMott, Rick (24 March 2004). "Triplets' Sylvain Chomet Opens Studio, Signs Deal With Dimension". Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  6. ^ "Scotlands Simpsons The Clan". 17 December 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  7. ^ "Berlinale press release". Archived from the original on 24 January 2010. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  8. ^ 27 Nov :37 GMT 2004. "Drawing on the spirit of Tati". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  9. ^ a b Susan Thompson Last updated (22 November 2003). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Chomet tackles Tati script - Features - Film - Time Out New York". Archived from the original on 11 July 2009.
  12. ^ "La postérité de M. Hulot – le portail des livres et des idées". Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  13. ^ Susan Thompson Last updated (22 November 2003). "The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  14. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (11 September 2012). "Attila Marcel: Sylvain Chomet's new world". Cineuropa. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Attila Marcel". TIFF. Archived from the original on 8 August 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  16. ^ "Attila Marcel". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  17. ^ Fox (6 March 2014). "WATCH this uniquely..." Retrieved 6 March 2014 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ Stromae – Carmen on YouTube (9 Dec 2017)
  19. ^ "Merci Monsieur Imada".
  20. ^ "Caleb's Cab: Sally and Sylvain Chomet interview". 15 December 2016.
  21. ^ DeMott, Rick (24 March 2004). "Triplets' Sylvain Chomet Opens Studio, Signs Deal With Dimension". Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  22. ^ Dams, Tim (24 March 2004). "Chomet secures Dimension backing for Scottish animation". Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  23. ^ "Scotlands Simpsons The Clan". 17 December 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
  24. ^ Cieply, Michael; Charles Solomon (27 September 2008). "Name Game: A Tale of Acknowledgment for 'Despereaux'". The New York Times. pp. B7. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Prequel To Oscar-Nominated Animation 'The Triplets Of Belleville' In The Works, Entitled 'Swing Poppa Swing'". 18 May 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  27. ^ "Sylvain Chomet Steps Up for The Thousand Miles in Variety
  28. ^ "Sylvain Chomet Moves Into Production on 'The Thousand Miles' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  29. ^ "Henry Selick and Sylvain Chomet Plan New Animated Features". 18 March 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  30. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (15 June 2021). "Sylvain Chomet to Helm 'The Magnificent Life of Marcel Pagnol' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  31. ^ "Elle Driver boards Sylvain Chomet's 'The Magnificent Life Of Marcel Pagnol' (exclusive)". 20 October 2022. Retrieved 7 January 2023.

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