Fest runs Oct. 20-28

MADRID — “Azur and Asmar,” the latest animation film from Michel Ocelot (“Kirikou and the Sorceress,” “Kirikou and the Wild Beasts”), will open the 51st Valladolid Intl. Film Festival, a key launching pad for art pics in Spain, which runs Oct. 20-28.

The animated feature will mark the first time that a toon pic has inaugurated the Valladolid sprocket opera. But Ocelot’s film, about the adventures of two separated foster brothers, one dark-skinned, the other light, set in the medieval Maghreb, comes with strong credentials.

A plea for racial tolerance, “Azur” proved a standout in the Cannes’ festival’s Directors Fortnight this May.

It is also underscores the move into international co-production by part of Europe’s animated film sector in order to finance higher-end projects. Sold by Wild Bunch, “Azur” is produced by France Nord-Ouest, Spain’s Intuition Films and S2 Intl., and Italy’s Lucky Red.

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