GKids bolstered its animated slate with its first Chinese acquisition, “White Snake,” from Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros., which premieres in competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival this week. The CG fantasy, co-directed by Amp Wong and Zhao Ji, is inspired by one of China’s oldest romantic fables, “Legend of the White Snake,” a love story between a snake spirit and snake hunter.
In the animated “White Snake,” a young woman suffering from memory loss discovers a link to a whole other identity within the spirit world. “Light Chaser Animation are true innovators, raising the bar for top notch Chinese animation and storytelling,” stated David Jesteadt, president of GKids. “We are overjoyed to be releasing this stunning epic to North American audiences.”
“White Snake” grossed the equivalent of $67 million in China earlier this year through Warner Bros., and serves as a prequel that takes place 500 years before the original story. It offers a sumptuous aesthetic with ample sorcery and exotic-looking creatures.
GKids, which is going for its 12th Oscar nomination, boasts seven additional contenders, including a few with provocative political topics, led by last year’s two biggest Animation Is Film Festival winners: “Funan,” the acclaimed family survival drama (from director Denis Do) about the cruelties of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge in 1975 (currently in limited release); and “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” (directed by Salvador Simon) about the legendary Spanish director’s scandalous struggle to make a documentary about his country’s poorest region.
Other releases include “Another Day of Life,” (co-directed by Raúl De LaFuente and Damian Nenow), which documents the horrors of the Angola civil war of 1975 by mixing graphic, mo-cap style animation with archival footage and interviews; “Weathering With You,” director Makoto Shinkai’s follow-up to his Japanese blockbuster, “Your Name,” about a romance with a new twist — the ability to create positive climate change; “Okko’s Inn,” the latest female-driven ghost story from Studio Ghibli veteran animator Kitaro Kosaka; “Children of the Sea,” the latest anime from Japan’s STUDIO4C (“MFKZ”) about ghosts in an aquarium; and the Belgian stop-motion political drama, “This Magnificent Cake.”