EXCLUSIVE: India’s National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and France’s Catherine Dussart Productions have boarded Rajnesh Domalpalli’s rural fable Avani as co-producers.

Michael Henrichs of Die Gesellschaft DGS is the lead producer on the Telugu-language project, which has also secured $37,000 (€30,000) from the EU’s Creative Europe Media Development Fund.

Set at a time when the monsoons have failed two years in a row, Avani tells the story of an eight-year-old girl who learns new respect for life on Earth while bringing her family together.

Avani will build on the tone that the director developed in his first film, Vanaja. We expect to close the financing over the next nine months and begin shooting in mid-December 2015,” said Henrichs.

Dussart and NFDC recently co-produced Gurvinder Singh’s The Fourth Direction, which is in production, with Kartikeya Narayan Singh’s The Film Café and Sunil Doshi’s Handmade Films. Dussart’s credits also include Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture (2013).

Domalpalli’s debut feature Vanaja premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2006 and won the best first feature award at the 2007 Berlinale. Avani participated in Film Bazaar’s Co-production Market in 2012.