In negotiation before the festival, the deal was sealed at Annecy on Monday by Carole Baraton at Charades, which is handling worldwide sales on the film, and Gkids CEO Eric Beckman.
Given Gkids’ remarkable record of 11 Oscar nominations for animated movies since the company launched in 2010, the deal is sure to throw an extra spotlight on “Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” which represents a move toward family entertainment by Romania’s Anca Damian. Her animated docu-feature “Crulic: The Path to Beyond,” which was set in a Polish prison, won the top Cristal for best feature film at the 2012 Annecy Festival.
Admired at 2018’s Cartoon Movie, where Damian presented excerpts, and presented again at this year’s event, “Marona’s Fantastic Tale” is billed as a lesson in love, about an average dog and her extraordinary life. The film is animated in a range of styles, from expressionistic sketches to crayon drawings and scenes with detailed backgrounds, and energized by a mobile camerawork. The central character is Marona, a mixed-breed Labrador reflecting back on her life after being hit by a car. The film portrays her different homes and owners, whom she loved unconditionally and left a deep impression on.
“We have been excited about this film since we saw the first images several years ago,” said Gkids president David Jesteadt. “The film combines a unique and wildly inventive visual style with a universal story that goes straight to the heart for anyone who has been lucky enough to spend time with a dog.”
“The Charades team is very proud that Gkids fell under the spell of this very special movie,” said Baraton, co-founder of Charades. “We are sure they will provide the exposure it deserves in the U.S. market.”
“Marona’s Fantastic Tale” is produced by Aparte Films, Sacrebleu Productions and Minds Meet.
The “Marona” pickup marks the second deal in little more than 15 months between Charades and Gkids, which acquired North American distribution rights to Mamoru Hosada’s “Mirai” in February last year.
Charades also chalked up one of the biggest animation deals of the Cannes Festival, selling rights to Netflix for most of the world on Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prix winner “I Lost My Body.”
Gkids announced on the first day of Annecy that it had acquired Chinese animated feature “White Snake,” a box office hit in China, where it has has earned $66 million.