A 1905 feminist utopia and a short story in colonial Benghal, India becomes the basis of a new feature film by Spanish director Isabel Herguera.

After Marjanne Satrapi's Persepolis, another animation feature in development investigates within a semi-documentary tradition, the place of women.

Sultana's Dream  is inspired by the personal accounts and diaries of  Spanish director Isabel Herguera, whose resumé includes the short awarded animated La Gallina Ciega (2005), Ámár (2010), Bajo la Almohada (2012), and  Amore d' inverno (2015).

Ines, a Spanish animation director, comes across Sultana´s Dream, a Bengali feminist utopia written in 1905. Fascinated by the story and by Rokeya Hossain, its author, Ines embarks on a journey across India that leads to the making of a film. As she proceeds, she realizes that the message of the authors struggle and of her own story, Sultana´s Dream, is still current and stands as a reminder for woman and men that freedom is not a right, it is a conquest.

Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain came from Pairaband (b. 1880), a small village in British India (now Bagladesh), and was an intrepid champion for women's advancements in society, in both her writings and actions.

Herguera uses the Rokeya Hossain short story Sultana's Dream as a film making device and a research tool of contemporary director Ines; Ines tries to educate contemporary women through art and animation, but her own life is intertwined with fiction.

The free-spirited George Sand, the confused but trustworthy Sudhanya and Rokeya Hossain herself are her partners in this cinematic journey, which is graphically represented in mixed techniques.

The 2D animation style here is very distinctive, mixing in silhouette characters and their backgrounds, but still registering individual expressions clearly and potently.

The film can be considered as one of the first works of alternate history, and it fits snuggly into political/social fiction as well as science fiction. Sultana’s Dream invites people to reflect over our inherited values and attitudes.

A co-production between Spain (Abano Producións, Uniko Estudio Creativo and El Gatoverde Producciones), Portugal (Sparkle Animation) and Italy (Stelmo Production), the 70-minute film is at the development stage (creative team already working in India).

The film was pitched at the 2017 edition of 3DWire (Segovia, Spain). Expect more news in the upcoming year.


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