‘Mavka’ Producer Animagrad Studio Teams With ‘Luxembourg, Luxembourg’s’ Antonio Lukich for Ukrainian Animated Satire ‘Family Squad’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The team behind the Ukrainian hit animated feature “Mavka. The Forest Song” is partnering with “Luxembourg, Luxembourg” filmmaker Antonio Lukich to launch Ukraine’s first satirical animated feature, the filmmakers announced during the Annecy Animation Festival.

Produced by Animagrad Studio and Telescope Animation, “Family Squad” is billed as a life-affirming dramedy pitched at young adults. It follows Serhii Punko, a lonely gas station attendant whose life takes an unexpected turn when he finds himself in heaven after a mistake by the angel of death.

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Granted a second chance at life, Serhii must return to Earth and find at least one person who needs him. With no one to turn to, he sets out in search of the father he never met, making friends and saving a child’s life along the way.

Animagrad Studio is the production outfit behind the wildly successful animated feature “Mavka. The Forest Song,” which has been released in 148 countries and grossed more than $21 million worldwide. Ukraine’s Film.UA Group, which owns the studio, announced earlier this year that it’s developing a live-action “Mavka” film. A 3D animated series based on the movie’s folklore is also in the works.

“Animation is a unique genre that thrives on juxtaposition, weaving together seemingly disparate elements with finesse,” said Anna Eliseeva (“Mavka. The Forest Song”), who will produce alongside Maite Woköck (“The Last Whale Singer”). “In ‘Family Squad,’ we delve into the absurdity of life’s contrasts, blending humor with poignant social commentary. It’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, resonating with audiences across borders.”

Lukich, whose sophomore feature “Luxembourg, Luxembourg” bowed in the Horizons strand of the Venice Film Festival in 2022, is on board as a creative producer.

“As a novice creative producer, I’m finding immense joy in this new role. My aim is to help individuals with talent find their perfect medium, and for many, that medium happens to be animation,” he said. “Why animation, you ask? Because it has the ability to explore realms beyond the reach of a camera — into the celestial, underwater and even into the minds of our protagonists. I firmly believe that humor and irony serve as its natural language. It’s poised to become a genuine sensation.”

“Family Squad” will be directed by Konstiantyn Fedorov with art direction from Chris Koskinen. Both were key parts of the creative team behind “Mavka. The Forest Song.”

Fedorov describes the film as a transformative journey of self-discovery and redemption that invites audiences to explore the complexities of life and human relationships. Koskinen brings his distinctive aesthetics to the film, employing a visual style that juxtaposes simplistic character designs with intricately detailed backdrops.

The Annecy Animation Festival runs June 9 – 15.

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