Comics, graphic novels, novels, cinema... Joann Sfar has an insatiable appetite. Meet a man who is helping to make comics an art form in its own right.
In dialogue with Alain Berland.
Joann Sfar was born in Nice in 1971, to a singer mother and a lawyer father.
He grew up in a Jewish culture, both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, learning Hebrew and the precepts of the Torah, but attending public school. At a very early age, and with the abundance that still characterises him today, he invented and drew stories. From the age of fifteen, he sent publishers one comic book project per month, which they all refused with the same regularity.
After a master's degree in philosophy at the University of Nice, he entered the Beaux-Arts in Paris and became fascinated by morphology courses. In 1993, he entered the Nawak workshop, the future Vosges workshop, where he met Lewis Trondheim, David B., Jean-Christophe Menu, Emmanuel Guibert, Christophe Blain, Émile Bravo and Marjane Satrapi.
In 1994, three different publishers offered to publish his work. His first album, "Noyé le poisson", was published that year by L'Association. Since then, Joann Sfar has created a body of work of absolute originality. The depth of his stories never excludes humour or sensuality. His characters have the truculence of Albert Cohen's and his pleasure in drawing is as communicative as Quentin Blake's. He is one of those people who have given comics a new lease of life.
After an animated series adapted from his "Petit Vampire" for France Télévision in 2004, he moved on to the cinema with "Gainsbourg vie héroïque", which won three Césars in 2011, and then the adaptation of his "Chat du Rabbin", co-written with Sandrina Jardel and co-directed with Antoine Delesvaux, which won a César for best animated film.
He is currently directing his second animated feature film "Petit Vampire" adapted from his work with partners Studiocanal and France TV and continues to collaborate with his various publishers for his novels and comic books.
Although he defines himself as a compulsive drawer who doesn't spend a day without picking up his pencil, this adept of a lively line thrown on paper is also a genuine writer. For this storyteller attaches as much importance to words as to images, as much at ease in front of his boards as in front of his computer screen or behind a camera.
Penser le Présent is produced with the support of Société Générale.
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