New images have just emerged for the Studio Ghibli co-production, The Red Turtle, the first feature directed by Michaël Dudok de Wit (the Oscar-winning short Father and Daughter).
Paris-based film sales group Wild Bunch, who released the photos, will be seeking international distribution next month at Cannes. The feature is a co-production between Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions, Belvision, Arte France Cinema and CN4 Productions. Paris-based Prima Linea is overseeing the animation.
The storyline revolves around a man marooned on a desert island whose attempts to escape on a raft are thwarted by a giant turtle that sinks the makeshift craft. Dudok de Wit co-wrote the screenplay with director and screenwriter Pascale Ferran, (Lady Chatterley, Bird People).
Screendaily reports that “Wild Bunch first started working on the project seven years ago after Japanese animation maestro and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki asked for help to track down the artist.
“Around the time of Ponyo I visited Studio Ghibli,” recounted Wild Bunch chief Vincent Maraval. “Miyazaki showed me Father and Daughter and said ‘I want you to find the director for me’. I said that would be complicated. He replied, ‘If one day Studio Ghibli decides to produce an animator from outside the studio, it will be him’.
“On my return, the head of acquisitions tracked down Dudok de Wit and we visited him in London to ask if he would be interested in doing a feature. He said he wasn’t but we added: ‘Too bad, Studio Ghibli wants to produce it’, and his eyes lit-up.”
Dudok de Wit will give a special presentation about the film at the Annecy Festival in June.