Oscar animation race draws competition
GKIDS picks up rights to 'Secret of Kells'
GKIDS picked up U.S. rights to "The Secret of Kells" just three days before the Oscar submission deadline and plans to open the 2D toon for a one-week qualifying run on Dec. 4 at the AMC Burbank 8 in Los Angeles, followed by a wider release in March 2010.
The story of a ninth-century boy who rebels against his guardian's orders and helps to illuminate a famous Irish manuscript, pic garnered numerous accolades abroad, including an audience award at the Annecy toon fest and a nomination for the European Film Awards' animated feature prize. GKIDS is a for-profit offshoot of the New York International Children's Film Festival focused on distributing quality family-oriented films programmed at the annual kidpic showcase.
"GKIDS came along organically as (the organizers) and filmmakers coming to the festival felt that some really wonderful films were not being distributed in the U.S.," GKIDS prexy and NYICFF co-director Eric Beckman said. NYICFF hosted the U.S. premiere of "The Secret of Kells" at a special event last summer."The Secret of Kells" was directed by Tomm Moore and backed by French-Belgian-Irish co-producers Les Armateurs, Viva Film, Cartoon Saloon and France 2 Cinema.
The U.S. distribution deal was negotiated by Celluloid Dreams, who are also handling international sales, after an earlier domestic license with Empire Film Group fell through. GKIDS also has French-Italian co-production "Mia and the Magoo" (another EFA animated feature nominee) in the pipeline, though the company plans to prepare an English-language dub before releasing in 2010.As for "The Missing Lynx," the CG toon completed its Oscar qualifying run last Thursday, playing seven days on a single screen in Encino, Calif. The story of an endangered feline trying to evade a big-game hunter, pic is being distributed in North America by Phase 4 and was produced by Kandor Moon in Granada, Spain, with the roles originally performed in English and later dubbed into Spanish.