The story follows 12-year-old Igraine, the only one in her family who is not interested in magic, but is instead pursuing a headstrong plan to become a knight. Just when her brother accidentally turns their parents into pigs, their beloved home, Pimpernel Castle, is besieged by the knight Rowan Heartless and his master, Osmond the Greedy. They plan to steal her family’s singing books of magic to become all-powerful. It’s up to Igraine to save her family — even if it means facing giants and three-headed dragons.
“Igraine the Brave” will be produced by Uncharted Territory’s Volker Engel, Gesa Engel and Lucia Scharbatke, who are partnering with Rise Pictures’ Ulrich Schwarz and Sven Pannicke executive producing, with L.A.-based Robyn Klein and Jeremy Ross (“Gnome Alone,” “Charming”) co-producing.
Holger Tappe (“Monster Family,” “Animals United”) and Volker Engel are set to direct the feature film from a screenplay by Jane Ainscough (“I’m Off Then,” “Lassie Come Home”).
The project marks Rise Pictures’ second production based on a Funke property after Constantin Film’s animated feature “Dragon Rider,” on which it served as co-producer, with parent group Rise Visual Effects Studios handling animation work on the film.
Andreas Deja, a former supervising animator at Disney whose credits include “Lilo and Stitch,” “The Lion King” and “Aladdin,” is serving as animation consultant on the project.
“Igraine the Brave” will be the first production overseen by Rise’s new Rise Animation division in Munich, which will be set up to handle the company’s increasing focus on the development of toon properties.
Rise Pictures’ productions also include Joe Pennna’s upcoming sci-fi thriller “Stowaway,” which it produced with XYZ Films and Augenschein Filmproduktion; the pic set for release in Germany via Wild Bunch and internationally on Netflix.
“This collaboration is an exciting opportunity for Rise — Volker is an icon of the animation and visual effects world,” said Schwarz, adding that “Igraine the Brave” was the ideal project on which to come together.
Uncharted Territory was originally established in Los Angeles by Engel, an Academy- and Emmy Award-winning visual effects supervisor, and fellow Emmy-winner Marc Weigert, both of whom served as co-producers and visual effects supervisors on a number of Roland Emmerich productions, including “2012,” “White House Down” and “Independence Day: Resurgence.”
Now headed by Volker and Gesa Engel and Scharbatke, the company has set up shop in Nuremberg, where it will focus on its own project development.
Alexander Geringas, whose credits include the upcoming animated Netflix movie musical “Arlo the Alligator Boy,” is composing the score for “Igraine the Brave” and also writing songs for the film.
“It’s a very close, familial, friendly project,” said Gesa Engel, noting that most of the people involved know each other well and have been eager to work together. She and Schwarz previously worked as producers at German entertainment giant UFA.
“Igraine the Brave” will be sold internationally by London-based GFM Animation.
Uncharted Territory’s project portfolio includes several other Funke properties, including “Still the Wild Chicks,” based on the author’s bestselling book series about a group of young gal pals, which also served as the basis for a Constantin Film movie trilogy released between 2006 and 2009. Gesa Engel and Funke have co-written the screenplay for “Still the Wild Chicks” and are also planning a new “Wild Chicks” series.
Ainscough has also completed a script for the company’s live-action adaptation of Funke’s novel “Ghost Knight,” about a boy at a boarding school who sets out to solve a centuries-old mystery while haunted by vengeful ghosts.
Past English-language adaptations of Funke’s works have included Iain Softley’s 2008 fantasy-adventure “Inkheart,” starring Brendan Fraser, and Richard Claus’s 2006 pic “The Thief Lord,” featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
(Pictured: Volker Engel, Ulrich Schwarz)