Mipcom: Donald Sutherland Spreads The Love For Tandem-Repped ‘Pirate’s Passage’

CANNES– Donald Sutherland spoke fondly about his passion project “Pirate’s Passage,” the animated feature he co-wrote, is producing and lending his voice to, on Monday at Mipcom, where sales company Tandem hosted a presser.

Set in 1952 in Grey Rocks, Nova Scotia, “Pirate’s Passage” is based on William Gilkerson’s critically-aclaimed novel. It  turns on the journey of Captain Johnson – voiced by Sutherland –, a seafarer who takes a widowed mother and her 12-year old child under his wing.

“I’m from the South Coast of Nova Scotia and William Gilkerson, who wrote the novel that won the Governor General’s Award for Children Literature in canada (…, he lives in the south coast on Nova Scotia and he grabbed a copy of the book in brown paper and handed it to the son of a friend of his who was going to Los Angeles and said ‘you give it to Donald Sutherland.’ That was it,” reminisced Sutherland.

“And six months after that, I landed in Australia to make “Fool’s Gold” and Matthew McConaughey came to me and said a ‘fellow who knows a fellow who knows a fellow who knows another fellow who lives in Nova Scotia gave me this package for you and it was Bill Gilkerson’s book,” added Sutherland.

The actor-turned-producer said he quickly decided to make buy the book rights after reading it and chose to turn it into an animated feature knowing that making it into live action movie would necessitate a much larger budget.

Meanwhile, Rola Bauer, CEO of the Munich-based company which is owned by Studiocanal, said she was inspired to come on board “Pirate’s Bay” because it’s one of the rare family features that she’d feel comfortable watching with her 11-year-old son. “All the movies out there based on Marvel Comics (…) are too tough for the 12-year-olds and under,” added the exec.

The animation is being created by PIP Animation Services in Canada.  The show will bow on CBC Television in Canada in January.

Tandem, which handles worldwide sales rights (outside of Canada) to “Pirate’s Passage,” also presented an extended trailer for “Spotless,” a black-humored thriller drama that lensed in London with Marc-Andre Grondin, Denis Menochet, Miranda Raison and Brandon Coyle. The 10-part series, created by Ed McCardie and Coraline Marrinan, was commissioned by Fabrice de la Patelliere at Canal Plus, the pay TV giant behind supernatural hit skein “The Returned.”


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