×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Annecy: Gkids Takes U.S. to Studiocanal’s ‘April,’ with Marion Cotillard (EXCLUSIVE)

From the producers of ‘Persepolis,’ ‘April and the Extraordinary World’ competes at this week’s Annecy Animation Festival

ANNECY, France – New York’s Gkids, the distributor of six best animated feature Oscar nominees, has acquired U.S. rights to “April and the Extraordinary World,” with Marion Cotillard as the voice of April.

Sold, co-produced and distributed by European film-TV group Studiocanal, lead-produced by Paris-based Je Suis Bien Content, the animation studio on “Persepolis,” and directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, “April” screens in competition beginning June 15 at the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival.

Aska Yamaguchi for Studiocanal and Eric Beckman for Gkids negotiated the deal. Gkids plans an early 2016 release in both French and English-language versions.

The steampunk adventure thriller, which charts a young girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny, is inspired by one of Europe’s most celebrated graphic novelists, France’s Jacques Tardi — also a graphic designer on “April” — forefronting his signature graphic style, humor and social criticism.

An alternate history steampunk adventure set in a world where all scientists have been taken prisoner and history has come to a standstill, “April and the Extraordinary World” first unspools in a 1941 Paris, ruled by Napoleon V, which has two Eiffel Towers and cable-cars zigzagging above its soot-clod streets. There, a family of scientists, on the brink of discovering a powerful longevity serum, mysteriously disappears, leaving behind their young daughter, April (Cotillard).

Teh years later, April, now an intrepid young woman — like many of Tardi’s protagonists – sets out to find her parents, and is plunged into the center of a shadowy and far-reaching conspiracy, forced to go on the run from government agents, bicycle-powered dirigibles and cyborg rat spies.

“April” is “a critique of the world we’re living in now,” Tardi told Variety, calling it an “entertaining scientific fantasy” based on rigorous documentation.

Produced by Marc Jousset and Franck Ekinci at Je Suis Bien Content, “April” plays off a golden triple territory triangle for animation financing, being structured as a France-Canada-Belgium co-production between JSBC, Studiocanal, Kaibou Production UMT, Need Productions, Arte France Cinema, Jouror Distribution, Belgian pubcaster RTBF, Proximus and Tchack. O’Brother Distribution distributes in Belgium.

Deal marks the first high-profile U.S. distribution pact announced at 2015’s Annecy Animation Festival, set in the French Alps, which opens today. It may not be the last.

The North American theatrical distributor of Studio Ghibli’s library of films and a longtime producer of the New York International Children’s Film Festival, North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens, since 2009 Gkids has scored six animated feature Oscar nominations – second only to Disney – with “The Secret of Kells” in 2010, “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita” in 2012, “Ernest & Celestine” in 2014, and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” and “Song of the Sea” in 2015.

Current and upcoming releases include “When Marnie Was There,” from director Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Studio Ghibli; 2014 Annecy winner “Boy and the World,” by Brazilian director Ale Abreu; and “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” directed by Roger Allers and produced by Salma Hayek, which opens this year’s Annecy Festival.

For Gkids’ Beckman and David Jesteadt, the U.S. market is expanding for independent animation.

“Audiences are growing, and the most exciting thing for us is the growing awareness of independent animation,” Beckman said. He continued: “We have six Oscar nominations. In the old days, people would say: ‘What a crazy surprise, a film coming out of nowhere.’ Now there’s increasing recognition that smaller-budget films from other countries have a lot of entertainment and artistic value.”

Jesteadt added: “U.S. theatrical’s grown steadily. We’ve seen the best results on home video, particularly with titles that have streaming deals. As a company, we are now old enough, given the long production cycles of films, to be handling second or third films with some directors, and can take advantage of the auteurist sensibilities of the directors.”

More Film

  • Svensk Filmindustri SF Studios logo

    Warner Bros, SF Studios Expand Distribution Deal Across Scandinavia

    Warner Bros. Pictures has expanded its distribution deal with SF Studios to include Sweden and have their movies released by the Nordic major through all of Scandinavia. Warner Bros. Pictures already has a distribution pact with SF Studios in Denmark, Norway and Finland. Under the partnership, SF Studios has been handling the sales, marketing and [...]

  • Nicole Kidman Meryl Streep

    Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman to Star in Ryan Murphy's 'The Prom' at Netflix

    Ryan Murphy enlisted a star-studded cast for his upcoming Netflix movie “The Prom,” an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Awkwafina, James Corden, Ariana Grande, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells are among the A-listers bringing “The Prom” to screens. “The Prom” follows a lesbian student in the fictional conservative town of [...]

  • Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Vaclav

    Viktor Dvorak, Anna Geislerova Join Václav Havel Biopic

    Viktor Dvorak has been cast in “Havel,” a biopic of Václav Havel, as the Czech playwright, dissident and national leader. Anna Geislerova, who starred in Oscar nominated “Zelary,” plays his wife, Olga Havlova. Jiri Bartoska, the president of Karlovy Vary Film Festival, will appear in the film as “Professor,” inspired by Czech philosopher Jan Patocka. [...]

  • Daniel Craig

    'Bond 25' First Footage Sees Daniel Craig Back as 007

    After suffering a series of setbacks, including finding a new director and Daniel Craig’s on-set injury, “Bond 25” production is officially underway. A new behind-the-scenes clip of the upcoming James Bond film features Craig and helmer Cary Joji Fukunaga at work in the Caribbean. The minute-long footage didn’t reveal much about the still-untitled movie, though [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    ‘Roma,’ ‘The Good Girls’ Top Mexico’s Ariel Academy Awards

    The Mexican Academy of Arts and Cinematographic Sciences hosted the 61st edition of their Ariel Awards on Monday evening, where Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” and Alejandra Márquez Abella’s “The Good Girls” stood out among the winners. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Cuarón’s “Roma” scooping best picture is that it’s only the second of his films to [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    Already Pulled From Shanghai Festival, 'The Eight Hundred' Cancels Its China Release

    Already pulled from its prestigious spot as the opener of the Shanghai International Film Festival, war epic “The Eight Hundred” has been dealt a further below with the cancellation of its scheduled release in China next week. In a terse announcement on its official Weibo account, the film said late Tuesday that, “after consultation between [...]

  • Méndez Esparza, Fernando Franco, Villaronga Projects

    Projects By Mendez Esparza, Fernando Franco and Villaronga at Small Is Biutiful

    Antonio Méndez Esparza’s “Que nadie duerma,” Fernando Franco’s “La consagración de la primavera” and Agustí Villaronga’s “3.000 obstáculos” figure among the seven projects to be pitched at Paris’ Small Is Biutiful forum. The closing event for the alternative Spanish film festival Dífferent 12!, Small Is Biutiful takes place June 26, bringing together French distributors and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content