|by:||Feb 5, 2007|
Montreal: The self-proclaimed "ordinary guys" behind a series of satirical online videos taking Quebec by storm are close to signing an international distribution deal with Just For Laughs.
Daily, more than 250,000 Internet users are following the exploits of Têtes à Claque, a series of clay animation shorts, the characters of which are made of Plasticine and have bulging, oversized eyes and lips. Each installment of Têtes à claque - which translates to "a face you'd love to smack" - is designed by animator Michel Beaudet and two friends in a basement studio south of Montreal.
After only a few months online, the site has become one of the most popular in Quebec, distracting everyone from office workers to Premier Jean Charest, who is a fan.
Although Beaudet isn't talking to the media, a spokeswoman for Just for Laughs confirms the festival is in talks with Têtes à Claque's creators.
"It will be a distribution deal, but nothing has been signed yet so no one is commenting," says Meredith Sharpe. "Beaudet isn't talking. He's unplugged his telephone because it just got to be too much."
The Têtes à Claque videos make good-natured fun of Quebec pop culture and regular folk - everything from bratty children to male-female relationships and TV commercials.
In one of the most popular webisodes, entitled "Halloween," two little girls refuse to leave a stranger's house until he gives them a Pop-Tart. Another favorite character is a greasy salesman who pitches a vegetable peeler in a send-up of infomercials.
Beaudet, who previously worked for an ad agency, uses his own mouth and eyes to create the characters. One newspaper columnist declared Beaudet Quebec's personality of the year because he created the site without help from government or a big-time private investor.