Universal Pictures Content Group has acquired all French distribution rights for the animated feature film “Mavka. The Forest Song” by Animagrad Studio, which is owned by Ukrainian production powerhouse Film.UA.

The film tells the story of a magical spirit who’s responsible for protecting the forest from the outside world but faces her greatest challenge when she falls in love with a human.

The producers of “Mavka. The Forest Song” noted that the film “showcases unique Ukrainian culture, values, traditions and has an environmental component [through a] partnership with WWF-Ukraine.”

They added: “Mavka is a unique female character from Ukrainian legends and myths, the soul of the forest, who becomes its guardian when her home is in danger. She strives for peace and harmony in her world — just as the people of Ukraine today strive for their own.”

Evgeniy Drachov, Film.UA Distribution CEO, said the company is looking forward to its partnership with Universal, which will dub the film and its soundtrack into French and is planning a theatrical release of “Mavka” in France and French-speaking territories.

Film.UA began racking up pre-sales for the animated feature in Cannes, where Variety announced deals with Manymore Films (Scandinavia), Feelgood Entertainment (Greece) and Filmbridge (Mongolia). Further deals have been signed in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and a host of countries in West Asia, also known as the Middle East, and North Africa.

“Since the first presentations of the project on the international film market, we have seen great interest in the film from the international audience,” said Drachov. “Our team continues to work to expand the list of countries where the ‘Mavka’ movie release will take place.”

Company execs noted that work on the film has continued apace despite the Russian war in Ukraine. As Variety previously reported, Film.UA was celebrating the premiere of one of its major releases, “The Big Picnic,” on the eve of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. Projects filming in its soundstages were immediately put on hold, while the studio housed in an old, repurposed factory building soon became a shelter for refugees.

Many of the company’s employees have fled their homes and have been forced to leave the country. Nevertheless, “Mavka. The Forest Song” is slated to be delivered on schedule in the fourth quarter of 2022.