Based on the bestselling graphic novel series, published in over 15 languages
Autochenille Production (The Rabbi's Cat -Crystal for Best Picture at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and European Film Awards nominee in 2011)
2012 / Original language: French / Color / 1.85 / Dolby SRD / available in hd & 2k
My name is Aya, Iâm 19. I love my neighborhood! Here, in Yop City, Abidjan, everyone knows each other. It is always lively, with our open markets, colorful fabrics, funky cafĂ©s and of course, music everywhere.
My mom, Fanta, is the neighborhoodâs most trusted healer. As for my old man, heâs a sales rep for Solibra Brewery, but if you ask me, he drinks a little too much of that âstrong manâs beerâ!
My two best friends are Adjoua and Bintou. Those two like to hang out and spend their evenings in the "maquis", dancing, drinking and flirting with boys. Their ambition, deh*, is basically a C-series career plan: Combs, Clothes and Chasing Men! Me? I want to be a doctor someday.
Big trouble comes to town when Adjoua realizes sheâs pregnant. Not to mention when Moussa, the spoiled rotten Sissoko boy finds out heâs going to be a dad! How can he tell his old man, one of the richest and most feared men in the whole country?
Against the colorful and spirited backdrop of the Ivory Coast in the 1970s, Aya is a vibrant, beautifully animated film. From teen romance to parental tribulations, a rare glimpse into African daily lives, set to the funky sounds of a groovy soundtrack.
AYA OF YOP CITY originally sprung from a desire to portray a country, convey happy memories and point out that all too often, newspapers tell us about how African are dying but never about how they live. On the other hand, animation films and youth literature focus on tales and legends, portraying a folkloric vision not in keeping with modern African life.
So here is a different Africa from the one we generally get to see. In the heart of an Abidjan neighborhood, the daily life of 19-year-old Aya, a young middle class woman who strives to do well at school, and her girlfriends Adjoua and Bintou, who would rather major in husband hunting. Here, events take place on a family scale rather than a national one, and are infused with the gentle way of life and heedlessness of the 1970s.
This will be an urban, modern animation film, a vast ensemble comedy that will not only take an interest in the passing fancies of Yop Cityâs teenage girls, but also in the concerns faced by their elders. Thanks to 2D animation, we will breathe life into our characters and bestow upon them the fluidity they deserve. The nonchalance of the young ladies, who walk as slow as they talk fast; the moms whose peanut sauce burns because theyâre mesmerized by soap operas; the glimmer of sunshine beating down on the asphalt; the roar of Moussaâs orange Toyota Corolla. Such is the gentle ambiance we will find in AYA OF YOP CITY. And if it gets too hot, weâll sit ourselves down in an allocodrome and share a âturkeyâs assâ or down a glass of Tip-Top with Bintou. Weâll enjoy the sounds of FranĂ§ois Lougah, Ernesto DjĂ©djĂ© and rumbas from Zaire. And if people get worked up and situations spin out of control, we can always count on moms to restore order.
Of course, this perspective will not prevent us from broaching more sensitive topics, like the lack of contraception or access to education for young girls, but weâll always keep a sense of humor, because Ivory Coast folks know how to laugh about anything, especially things that arenât funny, with a feigned cruelty that conceals genuine tenderness. And letâs not forget the lively Ivory Coast slang called Nouchi, which transforms the most trivial conversations into verbal jousts of sometimes uncontrollable proportions.
AYA OF YOP CITY stands as a work of fiction that tells the story of the universality of human relations, simply, without moralizing or condescending, enabling us to break away from the Western world taboo that calls for any talk about Africa to be didactic or pedagogic. When contemporary Africa is portrayed lightheartedly, it moves audiences of all ages.
Annecy International Animation Film Festival 2013
In Official Selection
Salon du Livre et de la Presse jeunesse 2013
Pepite de l'Adaptation CinĂ©matographique (Nugget for Theatrical adaptation)