Goldwyn Gets Kaena for U.S. Release

Last year, Xilam Animation’s Kaena: The Prophecy emerged as the first French feature-length computer-animated 3D film. Now the action-infused fantasy flick is coming to the U.S. courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Destination Films. The distributors plan to get it in theaters on July 12.

Kaena premiered in June of 2003 at the Annecy Int’l Festival of Animation and was released in France in September. The English-language version boasts an all-star voice cast with Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2) in the title role and supporting turns from the late Richard Harris (the first two Harry Potter films, Gladiator) and Angelica Huston (The Royal Tenenbaums, Iron Jawed Angels).

Directed by Chris LaPorte, Kaena takes place in a floating world called AXIS, a tangle of serpentine tree branches where villagers harvest sap to appease their gods. Those gods turn out to be another species–grotesque and visually stunning liquid beings that materialize from the sap. As the sap begins to dry up, these creatures are threatened with extinction and blame a glowing blue orb that came to rest in the branches when a spacecraft exploded. Only the sole survivor of that explosion knows the true nature of the orb and holds the key to salvation for a young rebel named Kaena and her people.

Xilam Animation, the studio behind Kaena, has two new projects in the works. The team is busy with Stupid Invaders, a 3D, big-screen version of its animated TV series Space Goofs. It is scheduled to hit French theaters in spring 2005. Also in the pipeline at the Paris, France-based production company is Rahan, a live-action prehistoric tale based on a comic book by Roger Lecureux and Andre Cheret. Brotherwood of the Wolf helmer Christophe Ganz is directing and Brotherhood star Mark Dacascos has been cast in the title role. Xilam and Eskwad will provide digital effects work. The two companies are also working on a 52-episode series based on Rahan which will air on French TV.

Kaena has sold to more than 40 territories and has inspired a PlayStation 2 video game developed in house and published by Namco.