EXCLUSIVE: Film France has got behind a Kickstarter campaign by producer-writer Jacqui Barcos to realise the hip-hop animation project Central Park Tale.

The filmmakers need to raise $40,000 USD to fund a proof of concept teaser that producer-writer Jacqui Barcos and her associates will use to present the vision to potential investors.

French Mikros Image – the animation studio behind the 2010 best animated short Oscar winner Logorama – has invested in the campaign and Happy Feet animation director Daniel Jeannette is lined up to direct. Rita Cahill will serve as executive producer.

Central Park Tale is a contemporary take on West Side Story in which rival squirrel clans use gravity-defying dance moves to fight for their turf.

“Mikros offers the best of both worlds – the attention to detail and superb craftsmanship of a boutique shop, coupled with the firepower of a brand new state-of-the-art animation studio,” Barcos said. “I can’t think of a better creative partner for Central Park Tale than Mikros.”

“One of the greatest benefits of making the film in France is that we will be able to draw from a large talent pool whose range in styles is incredibly broad,” Jeannette said. “This will give a uniquely distinctive look to our characters and environments.”

“An animated feature totally crafted by a French studio and with a French director? This was the winning formula of Despicable Me, which was totally produced in Paris with the support of our Tax Rebate for International Production,” Film France CEO Franck Priot said. “Central Park Tale is a project that falls into our parameters.”