Film distributor GKIDS has announced that their surprise Oscar-nominated animated feature “The Secret of Kells” will open theatrically at New York’s IFC Center on March 5, which also happens to be Oscar weekend. The New York opening at IFC Center will be followed by previously-announced opening in Boston on March 19 (tied into St. Patrick’s day for the Irish film), and an April 2 expansion to major US markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and others. Last week, director Tomm Moore’s film garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature.

“We’re still reeling from the news of the Oscar nomination and are thrilled at the opportunity to open the film in New York over Oscar weekend,” GKIDS President Eric Beckman said in a statement. “Audience reaction has been simply phenomenal and it is wonderful that New York families and animation lovers will be the first in the country to discover ‘The Secret of Kells.'”

“Kells” is a story of “the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times.” As described by GKIDS: “Young Brendan lives in the Abbey of Kells, a remote medieval outpost under siege from raiding barbarians. One day a celebrated master illuminator arrives from foreign lands carrying an ancient but unfinished book, brimming with secret wisdom and powers. To help complete the magical book, Brendan has to overcome his deepest fears on a dangerous quest that takes him into the enchanted forest, where mythical creatures hide. It is here that he meets the fairy Aisling, a mysterious young wolf-girl, who helps him along the way. But with the barbarians closing in, will Brendan’s determination and artistic vision illuminate the darkness and show that enlightenment is the best fortification against evil.”

The film is a France/Belgium/Ireland co- production of Les Armateurs, Vivi Film, Cartoon Saloon and France 2 Cinema and features the voices of Brendan Gleeson, Evan McGuire and Christen Mooney. The film is also set to screen at New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival on February 27th.

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