“Spycies” is a Sino-French co-production – a rarity as far as animated films are concerned – and the first animated film that iQIYI has co-produced with foreign filmmakers. It is financed mostly by iQIYI and involves three other Chinese production companies: Beijing’s Tianrui Paiming Culture Media, Zhuizong Media and Lux Populi. French animation director Guillaume Ivernel is on board as the director, and is supported by a team of creatives in France.
The family-oriented feature is about the adventures of a disgraced secret agent cat tasked with protecting a top secret cargo. It got a showing at the Annecy Goes to Cannes works in progress session last May.
International sales are handled by JL Vision. The film has been licensed to Toho for Japan, and will also be released in Southeast Asia and France.
Producer Zuo Qinshu, who is with iQIYI Motion Pictures, said the film company was looking to build an international presence by distributing its projects abroad, although Chinese viewers would remain its primary target. The company is currently developing “Zhong Kui,” an animated feature that tells the story of the classic Chinese ghost catcher Zhong Kui. It will be released in 2020. Cheng Jing, associate producer of iQIYI Motion Pictures, said the film title might be changed to cater to international audiences when it is distributed overseas.