FINALLY, GELUCK'S CAT ON SCREEN
An international comic strip star, a beloved figure in the world of European cartoons, the famous and infamous Cat of Philippe Geluck presents himself to the public in a brand new format: animation.
The Cat comes to life on your screen !
I created Le Chat in March 1983, in the Belgian daily paper Le Soir. He quickly became the paper’s mascot. When the first volume of his adventures came out in 1983, it marked the start of a relationship with the Casterman Publishing House that has been growing ever since.
The Cat seems to reach all types of readers, whatever their age, social status or level of education (something his author appreciates a lot).
The Cat was still very young when the first offers were made to turn him into an animated figure for television. As reasonable as these offers were, they failed to grab me. Several pilot programs have been made since 1988, all inconclusive. And yet, I saw it all: classical animation, flash, dough, 3D, even a comedian impersonating the Cat. Each and every project had something to offer, and yet, none of them seemed right: it felt like letting outsiders sneak into my private world.
These various attempts led me to a firm resolve, namely that if ever the Cat was to come to life on a screen, it would be through a very personal investment and commitment: only if I got under the hood myself would such a project get off the ground. This meant finding and securing time for it.
Another big challenge lay ahead: I absolutely needed to find an animator whose creative universe would click with mine.
These two challenges were met in 2008: first, I decided to put an end to my commitments to all the French radio and television programs that had kept me busy since 1996. Second, I was lucky enough to meet Jean Goovaerts (animator and director) with whom I worked on several pilot projects that provided a foundation for the series “A Minute With The Cat.”
I truly appreciate the aesthetic quality of his sets and lighting, his sense of pace, his talents in soundtrack and sound effects. Our artistic collaboration made it possible to give the series its very own language. TV audiences might expect to see the Cat stepping out of the page to utter the kinds of truths and untruths he does expertly, but instead, they’ll watch a bunch of high-minded characters pop up, totally out of it, yet very much in tune with my comic universe, and visually quite unexpected. Of course the Cat remains the star of the series, but he is surrounded with quite a few guest stars.
THE CAT’S VOICE
We saw right from the start that the Cat moved well. Today, courtesy of Jean-Yves Lafesse, the Cat has a voice.
Quite problematic, however, was the notion that a very static Cat should become the hero of an animated films series. There’s a challenge indeed: how could he forgo a legendary motionlessness (which really characterizes this hero) for the mobility that is indispensable in an animated movie? A journalist had once described the Cat as something akin to ‘motionless Tex Avery’ –it sounded great, but what, then, was the risk of bringing the Cat to screen?
Here’s how we resolved this dilemma: since the Cat moves very little, we’ll put everything around him into motion, and we’ll do it in many different ways. We won’t limit ourselves to one technique of animation; instead, we’ll multiply them: classical animation, animated sketches, 2D, 3D, photographs and paper cutouts, stop motion, filmed drawings, puppets, doctored archival pictures , manipulated engravings and other wild graphic inventions of the kind I’ve delighted in for more than 30 years.
A MINUTE WITH THE CAT / THE WEEK OF THE CAT
In this project, “A Minute With The Cat” must be distinguished from “The Week Of The Cat.” The first one consists in daily 48-second long episodes which feature from one to five sequences (or stories, or gags) made in a wide variety of formats. The change in techniques and the pace of every piece combine to produce a striking effect.
As for The Week Of The Cat, it lasts 6 minutes and appears on weekends. It collects all the episodes of the preceding week and throws in some bonus footage such as short sketches featuring live actors (including me) and some original animated shorts.
The music was composed by Antoine Chance and interpreted by the Kočany Orkestar (a Macedonian fanfare band).
Over the past 35 years, I’ve continually gone from teamwork (in radio, television, theater) to solitary creation (writing and drawing). What I really enjoy in this new project is that it gives me a chance to draw, imagine, and write in the company of a whole group of young, talented and motivated creative artists. Enthusiasm abounds. For the first time in my life, I’ll write the stories of The Cat with other script writers; we’ll put our stories into motion with several groups, which altogether represent approximately 60 persons. To produce both laughter and employment, now, there’s a fantastic life plan!
Philippe Geluck, August 2011.