Kirikou Ready for His Animated Prequel

Fresh from nabbing two Oscar-nomination for its acclaimed animated feature The Triplets of Belleville (Best Animated Feature, Best Song), French production company Les Armateurs has announced that it’s preparing another follow-up to its 1998 French hit, Kirikou and the Sorceress.

The upcoming pro al Kirikou adventure, is called The Child Kirikou, and will be co-directed by Michel Ocelot who also wrote and directed the original. Ocelot will co-direct the new feature with Benedicte Galup.

"It’s not a sequel, but a story about Kirikou that wasn’t told in the first film and it takes place before the deliverance of the Sorceress," producer Didier Brunner told Daily Variety. The project is budgeted for $6 million and will be released in France in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Kirikou and the Sorceress was a critical success at the Annecy Film Festival, and sold 1.5. million tickets during its release in France, as well as 660,000 DVDs and 300,000 tie-in books. Although the film played in various festivals and special screenings stateside, it failed to pick up an official release.

Les Armateurs was founded in 1993 as a TV production entity, but it has been one of the driving forces behind the new French toon renaissance. The company is also in negotiations with Belleville director Sylvain Chomet to produce his new animated opus, Barbacoa.

A propos the recent Oscar nomination, Brunner said, “Frankly, we’re thrilled! We’re keeping our fingers crossed, because anything can happen in this beautiful world.”