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Talent Spotlights

Behind The Glitter ✨ Jean-François Girard – Production Manager

Behind the Scenes of Thelma the Unicorn: Interview with Jean-François Girard – Production Manager.

29 May 2024

Get ready to dive into the magical world of Thelma the Unicorn through the eyes of Jean-François Girard, Production Manager on this captivating project.

  • Can you introduce yourself and elaborate on your role in Thelma the Unicorn?

Hello my name is Jean-François. I was production manager on Thelma the Unicorn for the  Montréal Crew. My assigned departments were a mix of artistics (Sets and Props Modeling & Matte Painting) as well as technical ones (Conformation & Final Set Dress). I was present from start to finish on this movie!

  • Did you read the book before working on the film?

Actually no, but we had multiple other books from Aaron Blabey (Thelma’s author) around the house.Since we work under confidentiality when making these projects, my girlfriend and I decided to buy both books and they quickly became the kids’ favorite bedtime stories. It was actually a huge surprise when I was finally allowed to show them the trailer upon release! 

  • What were the main artistic and technical challenges?

My principal challenge on this project was a logistic one. Just like every Mikros project, we pushed the creative limits of all CG aspects to meet style and expectation, in almost every department. 

My main objective was to define, maintain and find balance as well as keeping decent pace between the departments during the entire production cycle. 

We needed to be alert, creative and resilient in our planning – while still fostering a positive attitude mindset on the day to day. 

  • Do you believe in Unicorns? 

I do believe in Unicorns now indeed! That’s pretty much the core of the movie – it seems like there is in most of us a sleeping unicorn that only wishes to emerge. In my case, it was my colleagues that were filling that role with their unicity in every visible or invisible detail on the screen, allowing without a doubt, to make this project truly unique. 

  • What is your favorite character and sequence?

I really enjoy Otis and his role in the narrative timeline. I believe spectators will especially appreciate his humor and his fertile imagination, which will culminate in one awesome sequence! 

  • Do you have a favorite moment during the movie production? 

Catching myself wanting to sing along, watching the first continuity passes in Compositing, for the musical sequences.The animation, the environments, the lighting, FX, surgical hair and cloth simulations, crowd and continuity work, it was simply impossible for me to stay silent. On top of all, there was great pride to recognize all of the artist’s previous meticulous work on the near final shots.

  • A final word?

Thelma the Unicorn is absolutely a movie for the entire family. It makes us travel emotionally around important themes such as : friendship, self-confidence and pursuit of dreams. 

Making a movie is all about teamwork. There was so much talent and shared experiences that converged for a little bit less than 3 years from all over the globe with our three studios. I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to tag along with our talented teams for this journey. 

I would like to thank the artists and their close supervisors for their trust and their listening, especially the ones I had the chance to meet with every day, in various departments from start to finish. Thank you for creating magic day after day in front of our eyes.To my coordinators and my generous production manager colleagues, as well as the whole production team, thank you for your continuous support and for all the fun we shared. Finally, a very special thank to the leadership, studio, TD and IT teams, for allowing us to continuously deliver ambitious and spectacular projects.  

Thelma Mikros Animation teams Montreal

Thank you Jean-François – Don’t miss Thelma the Unicorn on Netflix!