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Magic Light Rolls Out Bullish Pre-Sales on ‘The Snail and the Whale’ (EXCLUSIVE)

ANNECY  —  At Annecy to talk audiences through “Zog,” the latest in a line of hugely popular of painstakingly crafted half-hour films for the BBC and ZDF whose lineage stretches back through “Revolting Rhymes” to the “The Gruffalo,” London-based Magic Light Pictures has confirmed a swathe of sales on its upcoming half-hour, “The Snail and the Whale.”

The film will premiere in the U.K. on BBC1 as a highlight of its Christmas schedule in 2019. Alongside core partner ZDF in Germany, further confirmed pre-sales include France Televisions; SVT (Sweden), DR (Denmark), RTE (Ireland), ABC (Australia), Showmax (Africa), Czech Television, Noga in Israel; VPRO in the Netherlands; and Slovenia’s RTV.

“The Snail and the Whale” will also be released in cinemas in France next year by Les Films Du Preau.

Described as a delightful tale of adventure and friendship, “The Snail and the Whale” follows the amazing journey of a tiny snail who longs to see the world and manages to hitch a ride on the tail of a great humpback whale.

As for “Zog,” “The Snail and the Whale” is based on a book by award-winning author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, directed by Max Lang and Daniel Snaddon, produced by Michael Rose and Martin Pope at Magic Light Pictures and animated at Triggerfish Animation in Cape Town.

“The Snail and the Whale” is one of Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s great classics, a wonderful story of a little snail that wants to see the world, and is finally given  ride by a friendly whale and comes to realize the immensity of the world. and has to find a role in it, as we all do.It’s a real journey and very epic and poetic,” said Rose.

The film will have strong environmental focus,” said Pope.

“The snail discovers hat however small you are you can make a difference,” added Lang, who went not say that it’s “a very different kind of movie, reliant on special effects, a very ambitious movie which in a big part is celebrating the beauty of the world, so we have to make sure the film is as beautiful as we can make it.”

“The Snail and the Whale” is the latest in a distinguished line of award-winning festive family specials from Magic Light for BBC One and ZDF that have become a Christmas tradition on the channels, including “The Gruffalo,” “The Gruffalo’s Child,” “Room on the Broom,” “Stick Man,” “The Highway Rat”, “Zog” and “Revolting Rhymes.

A clutch have won Oscar nominations, many other significant awards – such as “Revolting Rhymes,” which also collected a Bafta, Intl. Emmy Award and European Animation Awards Emile.

“Zog” suggests some of the reason why. It has a distinguished voice cast: Sir Lenny Henry (Narrator), Tracey Ullman (Madame Dragon), Hugh Skinner (Zog), Patsy Ferran (Pearl) and Kit Harington (Sir Gadabout).

The half hour boasts a pictorial beauty more often associated with 2D animation. Each half hour film takes more than 18 months to write. The story is set in a fairy tale land where humans and drains have been at war for seeming centuries. It has a deliciously bathetic sense of humor. The film begins with Zog, a young dragon, taking on a knight in mortal combat. But it’s only a dream. Zog, who’s still at Madam Dragon’s dragon school, isn’t very good at dragony things like breathing fire, is accident prone and has ti be patched up by a girl, Pearl, who lives in the local castle, who has a useful first aid kit. Pearl, meanwhile, isn’t very happy being told by her governess who young ladies behave. A knight turns up, Sir Gadabout, but he’s not very good at being a knight, can hardly dismount from his horse.

“‘Zog’ is a children’s film. But there’s enough for parents in it, so much the book brings, so much story already there,” Lang said at Annecy.

The character suffer from their “stereotypical gender roles,” he adds.  “They’re all kind of stuck in this system and need to break out of it. The other thing I love is the theme of hurting and healing. It’s a celebration of doctors.”

“Audiences love these films which can still bring the family together at time of fragmenting viewers,”  said Rose. “Zog” achieved a 37% share on its Christmas Day broadcast. Remarkably, Magic Light Pictures have created a franchise. based on quality.

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