Does GKIDS have another Oscar contender on its hands? The American distributor behind 2015 animated Oscar nominees “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” and “Song of the Sea,” has picked up US rights to “April and the Extraordinary World.”
Directed by Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci (a storyboard artist on the original “The Adventures of Tintin”), “April” will screen in competition this month at the Annecy International Film Festival. GKIDS plans an early 2016 release, Variety reports, in both French and English (as it did for Studio Ghibli-made “Kaguya”). This steampunk adventure follows a young girl on her journey to fulfill her destiny and comes from graphic novelist Jacques Tardi’s tale of a dystopian world.
“April” begins in Paris 1941, where Napoleon V rules, there are two Eiffel towers and where scientists have been imprisoned. April (Cotillard) is little when she is left behind by her family of scientists and ten years later, now a young adult, must find them amid a conspiracy-filled government rife with cyborg rats espionage and bicycle-powered aircraft. Tardi described the film to Variety as an “entertaining scientific fantasy” that critiques “the world we’re living in now.”
GKIDS’ busy slate of current and upcoming releases includes “When Marnie Was There,” director Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s possible farewell to Studio Ghibli now in theaters, and Selma Hayek passion project “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet,” directed by Roger Allers and produced by Hayek, which opens Annecy this year and in US theaters this Summer. Given the modest-to-breakout box office successes of its films so far, and six animated Oscar noms since 2009 (“The Secret of Kelis,” “Kaguya” and “Song of the Sea” among them), GKIDS has clearly found a niche, along with good reason to throw its weight behind these animated foreign indies.
“April” is sold, co-produced and distributed by Europe’s Studiocanal, and produced by Paris’ Je Suis Bien Content, which helmed “Persepolis.” This year’s Annecy Film Festival runs June 15-20 in the French alps.