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Cannes gala kids around

Ocelot to present 'Kirikou' excerpt

PARIS — Some 2,000 kids will walk the Cannes Film Festival’s red carpet for a children’s gala screening May 13.

Gallic director Michel Ocelot will present an excerpt from “Kirikou and the Wild Beasts,” the sequel to his kids toon “Kirikou and the Sorceress.”

The first pic about the adventures of a little boy in an African village notched up 1.5 million admissions in France, Spain and Germany and did brisk DVD business. But it was a no-no in the U.S. because its traditionally clad female characters were topless.

The Cannes gala will feature a child’s level explanation of animation, followed by a concert and picnic on the beach.

Event, supported by France’s Education Ministry and Unicef, is the latest effort by organizers to broaden the fest’s appeal.

“Kirikou and the Wild Beasts” is being sold internationally by Paris-based outfit Celluloid Dreams.

The $7.8 million pic will be released in France by kids specialist Gebeka and in Germany by Celluloid Dreams’ recently created Teutonic distribution company. Other territories are up for grabs.

Pic was produced by Didier Brunner of Les Armateurs, producer of Sylvain Chomet’s hit toon “The Triplets of Belleville.”

Ocelot has another pic in the pipeline, the $13 million “Azur and Asmar,” a fable about two boys who are separated and raised as a Muslim and a Christian before being reunited when they are older.

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