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Joey Guila Luis and the Aliens

Luis and the Aliens tells the Story of an 11-year-old Boy who makes Friends with Three Loveable Little Aliens

Cast: Franciska Friede, Joey Guila
Directors: Christoph Lauenstein, Wolfgang Lauenstein
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Rated: PG
Running Time: 84 minutes

Synopsis: Luis and the Aliens tells the story of an 11-year-old boy who makes friends with three loveable little aliens who crash their UFO into his house. In return for Luis' help in finding the home-shopping channel stuff they came for, they save him from boarding school - and an exciting adventure follows.

Character Descriptions

Luis Sonntag
Luis is a 12 years old boy who has been

living alone with his absent-minded father since his mother passed away. He is a strong and clever boy, who taught himself to deal with the daily challenges of running a small family household. Luis does not complain, instead attending to problems as they turn up. Unfortunately it has taken a strain on his social life. Luis simply doesn't have time to make friends and isn't one of the 'cool kids'. The shy boy is seen as a strange loner. On top of that his father is up all night keeping an eye out for hostile aliens and sleeping all day. So, meeting three silly and friendly aliens comes as quite a shock to him, but maybe somehow they could be the solution to all his problems. Using his wit, some white lies and trickery Luis has to outsmart his principal and the creepy Ms Diekendaker with the help of his new alien friends.

Armin Sonntag
Armin Sonntag, Luis' father, spends all day sleeping on the couch so that he can sit in front of his huge telescope and search for extra-terrestrial life at night. Caught up in his work he totally forgets to give his son Luis the love and attention he needs. Since he believes he saw a real life alien as a child, his mission is to prove that he is not the crazy wack-job everybody thinks he is and that there is in fact intelligent alien life. He truly loves his son and would never hurt him intentionally. So when Luis goes missing it is a wake-up call. Armin is a befuddled professor type with a big heart.

She goes to the same school as Luis. She writes for the school newspaper and wants to become a world famous journalist, but so far she is only allowed to write the school polls. Unlike the others she does not make fun of Luis but she doesn't really notice him either. Not until she discovers Luis's secret and is hot on the trail of the story of the century. Jennifer is a lively and very talkative young girl.

Patty is Jennifer's best friend and camera assistant. Patty is the complete opposite of Jennifer. She never says a word, or rather, she can't get a word in edgeways with Jennifer constantly cutting her off. Apart from that it's hard to know what's going on in Patty's head.

Mrs. Diekendaker
She's the headmistress of the Sunny Day Home for Neglected Children. She is the antagonist in disguise. Mrs. Diekendaker pretends to be a protector of vulnerable children. She appears to be a "lovely" lady at the beginning of the movie, but we are certainly in for a surprise. Through the movie she develops little ticks, like a strange blinking of the eye, and she has a hard time keeping up appearances. But we hardly notice. At the end of the movie she will reveal her true form, a terrifying alien monster.

The Principal
He is a big, nice man, whose foremost interest is providing a good solid education to kids but also keeping his desk as uncluttered of complicated cases as possible. Luis' unkempt appearance and absent father worry him greatly and he would like nothing more than to help the poor boy, but also get his out of his own hair. He has a bit of a temper and can be a bit lazy, but his heart is most definitely in the right place.

Mr. and Mrs. Winter
They are the perfect couple. They are perfectly dressed, have perfectly trimmed hedges and have perfectly raised children, at least they think so. That's why they don't like their crazy, eccentric neighbour Armin Sonntag. They don't want their children to have anything to do with Luis and constantly nag about the Sunday's run-down house and garden. Mrs. Winter tries her best to meditate away her undiagnosed OCD, while Mr Winter just wants everything to be calm, clean and quiet.

Marlon is a couple of years older than Luis but has been held back and is still stuck in the same class as him. He is Luis' arch enemy and bullies him whenever he can. Just like his parents he thinks Luis and his father are crazy. His parents believe he is the perfect boy, but hip-hop loving Marlon thinks he's cool and a rebel. He might have to change his opinion about Luis soon…

The Ice-cream man
He is indeed a mysterious character. Wherever Mrs. Diekendaker goes, he follows close behind, constantly keeping her under surveillance. He is overly literal when he speaks and seems like he's trying too hard to fit in. There is a reason why he has a hard time blending in, but we do not understand the nature of his game until the final showdown.

She is the Winters' cleaning lady. She is very good at her job and enjoys doing it. She can get annoyed when people make a mess, but she will get straight to work when needed. She is loud, forceful and maternal. Do not try to pull the wool over her eyes; she is not a woman to be taken lightly.

The Aliens
The aliens are cute, funny, noisy and huggable. Strange but at the same time sympathetic characters. Their moods are flexible and they are easily carried away with enthusiasm. On the other hand they do get into fights and disagreements quite often, but a second later they are once again best friends. The aliens are able to change shape according to the situation. When they ingest a hair from another being, a human, a dog or whatever, they take on the physical form of that being. However, they never seem to manage to pull off a 100% copy of their doubles, creating quite a few challenging situations. They don't really think before acting and therefore, although with good intentions, sometimes make things worse. The aliens are childish but they are not children. In fact they are ageless. They're all actually tourists on an intergalactic cruise ship.

Mog is the leader of the pack. He is energetic and focused. But even though he is the responsible guy he still acts impulsively and short tempered. He has a hard time planning for the long haul.

Nag, as opposed to his two friends is thoughtful, cool-headed and sometimes quite anxious. Nag is the only one who would worry about safety and the future as such. That doesn't mean, however, that he is not always ready to let himself get carried away by any kind of foolishness.

Wabo is a bit of a ladies-man and a glutton. He is crazy about ladies no matter what Galaxy they come from. He is greedy, fun loving, jovial, and always on the lookout for more fun and food.

Director's Notes

In the last few years, a lot of unique film ideas and characters came up that wanted to be told and brought to life. More and more we reduced our work in advertising to refocus on our real interest " to tell our own stories.

The idea for Luis And The Aliens was born in 2010. In the following two years we essentially developed the screenplay in which we wanted to create a turbulent comedy adventure with funny, remarkable characters, captivating suspense elements and also an emotional story of Luis and his father. Among others we used typical elements of screwball comedy, sitcom and especially comedy of mistaken identity. Due to our biographical background we have a special affinity to this genre. As identical twins in our youth and school time we lived in these comedies of mistaken identity and we definitely had a lot of fun with that.

In other screenplay projects we already used elements of this "pretending"-subject, but with "Luis and the aliens" we wanted to elaborate the huge comedic potential of this motif even more. For a consistent signature style in our opinion the development of ideas, the writing and the directing had to be in the same hands. As directors, we practiced an efficient work-sharing. While only one of us was fully engaged in deciding the daily detailed questions the other had to remain at a distance. This approach has proven itself to ensure, not to lose our distinctive vision of the film during the long working process.

Together with the countless co-workers and CGI-artists the film was realized step by step in 2016/17. But time is money and the budget for European animation features is quite low in comparison to the big Hollywood productions. So a very tight schedule had to be kept. It was really challenging to handle the deadlines without losing the quality. That was only possible with an experienced, highly motivated and well-functioning team and also with a detailed, fully developed concept of the film. That is the advantage of writing and directing in personal union. We had a clear vision of how the film should be and how it should be not, and we had to fight for it every single day against the appearing problems and hurdles.

As a style defining element a special focus also had to be on the soundtrack. We appreciated the close cooperation with the composers Martin Lingnau and Ingmar Süberkrüb to emphasize the intended tonality of playful lightness, the compelling storytelling and the narrative style simultaneously fast-paced and touching. In short, we just wanted to make a movie that we would like to see in cinema ourselves.

From 2010 to 2017 we have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort into this project and finally can say that we all together created a good piece of entertainment that hopefully will reach a wide audience.
" Wolfgang Lauenstein and Christoph Lauenstein (Writers and Directors)

The original concept for Luis was one of those ideas that just jumps at you and stays in your head. A family that is just barely holding itself together, a child struggling to help his father, a teacher trying to help a boy in need and of course, Aliens. A story like this is a gift for any director.

I was also invited to participate in the writing process on LUIS, something that I really enjoyed diving into and helping to shape the story from its core.

I was also thrilled to be working with the amazingly talented teams from Luxembourg, Germany and Denmark. We really pushed the quality an extra mile with this film. The design, models, lighting and texturing are definitely a big leap for our studios and we couldn't be prouder. The visuals are really something that I take pride in and our artists certainly kicked it out of the park this time.

This family, sci-fi romp should be a great ride for the whole family. I hope that everyone enjoys it and can have a laugh, a cry and a feel-good time.

Have fun.
" Sean McCormack (Co-Writer and Co-Director)

Producer's Notes

Emely Christians, Frédérique Vinel, Anders Mastrup " Ulysses Filmproduktion, Fabrique d'Images, A. Film Production

The story behind Luis And The Aliens is an original idea that was entirely imagined by Academy Award winners Wolfgang Lauenstein and Christoph Lauenstein, who got their mention for the animated short film "Balance". The Lauensteins have managed to bring their particular kind of humour to life in the screenplay which contained plenty of hilarious gags, emotionally touching moments and identifiable characters. Luxembourg talent Sean McCormack has helped as Co-writer bringing this particular vision to life with the experience he has gained from his work as Co-director on best-seller film "Two By Two" (aka "Ooops! Noah is Gone…").

When we first read the script, we immediately saw the potential for a highly entertaining and touching film for the whole family. It all started with the touching story of a lonely boy, Luis, who has the typical profile of an outsider. Luis makes friends with some aliens accidently stranded on Earth. He decides to fly away with them and leave his dreary life behind him.

In our story, the comedy is mostly carried by our three zany aliens, with their opposite and entertaining personalities. Though the aliens play a crucial part in this family comedy, the aliens' journey is not the most important part of the story. First and foremost, it's a movie about 12 yearold Luis and the relation he has to his widowed father. Luis doesn't get all the attention he needs from his father. With a little help from his new alien friends, however, he soon discovers within himself qualities he never knew he possessed. He realizes that it's not right to run away from your problems and he eventually learns and grows up by facing his own issues. This is an important message we would like children everywhere to hear.

So with this outstanding script in hands we all started to get the financing of the film up to speed. Everybody was really fond of the story, the broadcaster, the distributors and the funders. After a little more than a year, when the financing of the project was closed and the deals were done, we had exactly 18 months to produce the film.

Wolfgang Lauenstein and Christoph Lauenstein also directed the film, together with co-director Sean McCormack from Luxembourg. Luis And The Aliens has everything it needs to be a successful Family Movie. Not only kids will be entertained, also their parents and grandparents and adults as such will be surprised by the Happy Ending. Luis himself is the hook to get the attention this film deserves; the unique characters from outer space and from a lovely spot called Earth are the heroes that everybody will love!

Whereas the story has taken inspiration from fantasy movies & comics, the film has found the perfect mix between tumultuous comedy, with crazy gags, and the delivery of this warm, human, caring message. A good reference we had for our film was "Despicable Me" which we thought had created a new and very modern style. Our goal with Luis And The Aliens was to really push Luis's relationship to his father to a point where their struggle is something that everyone in the audience can understand and identify with. The core audience is 6-12 year-old kids. It is impossible for kids that age not to empathize with Luis's distress.

Their younger siblings can relate to the aliens' sense of fun and curious nature, while the parents are all too familiar with the tensions involved in modern parenting, the worry of bringing up a kid on your own while putting up with your neighbours' judgmental behaviour.

We like to coproduce our films with partners who share the same vision and who are also eager to tell wonderful stories to a family audience. Our production companies Ulysses Films (Germany), Fabrique d'Images (Luxembourg) and A.Film Production (Denmark) have all specialized in the development and financing of high quality, animated feature films, entirely produced in Europe. With Luis And The Aliens we knew we had a strong and fun screenplay and needed a talented group of artists and technicians that got along well, to bring it to life. The CGI team we assembled from Germany, Luxembourg and Denmark was able to push past all the technical and artistic challenges that a film like LUIS offered.

The film was made using CG technology. Particular attention has been placed on achieving high visual quality, especially to get the perfect balance in textures and lighting. The animation was particularly challenging, with transforming, flexible and wobbly alien characters that do all sorts of amazing feats on the screen. We can now say that we have delivered a special film with a visual signature to it.


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