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Yaya & Lennie – The Waking Liberty is an animated feature by Alessandro Rak who put a spell on the audience of the Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival. The new film produced by Mad Entertainment is story of friendship and freedom told through striking and fascinating images. A film that feels like a daydream, one that entertains and makes us reflect at the same time, in the vein of Rak’s previous efforts The Art of Happiness and Cinderella the Cat.

Yaya & Lennie shares a topic with Rak’s previous films: human relationships, which is a complex theme. However, we firmly believe that this is what cinema should do, to be able to convey important contents in the most accessible way. As far as we are concerned, we want to give our contribution for animated cinema to be no longer considered as something for kids presenting easy and didactic topics only. Yaya & Lennie is the story of a friendship in the context of a future society, which has to survive an environmental disaster and an authoritarian power. A story telling of the greatest love between to lonely people, fighting with their inner demons in a hostile world.”

Producer Luciano Stella, who together with Maria Carolina Terzi, made this work possible, has clear ideas. His goal was to make a film that could convey a sense of the marvelous, but that at the same time could take a stand regarding some serious issues that humanity is facing today.

For the director this was a true challenge: “We made this film during the lockdown, theoretically we had an advantage over other colleagues since to make an animation film you have to stay indoor in front of a computer. However, I think that our images clearly prove the desire to go outdoor. It’s a film that was born as a substitute for another project that we have put on the side for the moment, but we strongly believed in it as soon as the story that we wanted to tell was clear for us. It’s a film that tackles current issues and that reminds us that future is in our hands, so we are all called to responsibility. It’s the future where our offspring will live, just like the protagonists of our film.”

According to Terzi, “this latest animation by Rak and his team is more mature compared to their previous works. Making a film with strong topics was our main goal, and the reception that we got so far is very reassuring to me.” In the film, the world has come to an end. Nature has retaken possession of the planet. A new society, the Institution, is attempting to thrive from the ruins. Its followers strive to reinstate order. But not everybody accepts to succumb to a process of civilization: the dissidents are preparing for a revolution! We will tell the story of two free spirits of the jungle who strive to find their place in the world. Yaya is an intelligent 15 years old mixed-race girl with an uncouth attitude. Lennie is a 8-foot tall man in his 30s with a mental handicap. Yaya takes care of Lennie. Lennie takes care of Yaya.

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LOCARNO 2021

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