Premier Russian toon house Wizart has announced a raft of deals for its flagship projects at the Toronto International Film Festival (running through Sept. 15), which will see its animated fairy tales screen around the globe from Africa to Australia.
“TIFF started very productive this year. Negotiations with long-standing partners have brought us to great results — according to all signed agreements Wizart projects will be shown in 60 countries,” said Yuri Moskvin, General Producer. “In addition to The Snow Queen and Sheep and Wolves, which are already known around the globe, this year we will present to the buyers absolutely new ones: the series The Snow Queen: Keepers of Miracles and the feature Hansel and Gretel.”
In the U.K., Altitude Film Entertainment will release the third Snow Queen film on DVD in November, followed by a theatrical release of The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands.
Audiences in Australia and New Zealand will have a chance to catch Sheep and Wolves in theaters in January 2020, thanks to Eagle Entertainment.
On the African continent, where moviegoers are already familiar with Snow Queen, the first Sheep and Wolves film will introduce fuzzy new characters to love across mainland theaters via new partner Gravel Road Distribution Group. The same company also distributes Fantastic Journey to Oz by Milnitsa Animation Studio, which is repped by Wizart at TIFF.
“When deciding on a title, as an independent distributor, it is important for us that there is a solid package which includes strong marketing collateral and ancillary assets that can be used to build the brand equity of the title in the territory. This is exactly what we found with Wizart and their film Sheep and Wolves. Added to this, it is the first film in a franchise that will continue to grow – which makes our investment that much more attractive,” commented Benjamin Cowley, Founder & CEO of Gravel Road.
“The film is already available on DSTV BoxOffice, South Africa’s leading T-VOD platform, with planned home entertainment release for early December 2019. We have recently entered into a brand-partnership with the family restaurant group Mozambique, whereby Sheep and Wolves is incorporated in the design of their kids entertainment areas and in all their kids related paraphernalia. We look forward to our continued partnership with Wizart and bringing Sheep and Wolves to Africa.”
Elsewhere in North America, Wizart will be the first representative of Russian animation at the Niagara Falls International Film Festival (Sept. 18-21), where The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands is an official competition selection. The sequel is one of only two animated films in the 60-title program — the other being international co-pro Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, out of Ireland, U.K., France, Canada & the U.S.
“It’s important for us that the program we have enables each guest of the Niagara Falls Festival to find the movie that will appeal to them,” noted John Wildman, the official representative of NFIFF. “Full of adventures, humor and life wisdom, The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands will certainly be loved by the young viewers as well as by their parents.”
Moskvin added, “Just 10 years ago, Russian was almost never mentioned in the context of the global animation. Each nomination in the global territory help us not only understand how successful a certain project is but also put another spot on the animated world map. Every new festival doesn’t only assure us in the quality of our project, but also stimulates us to devote even greater attention to our work and keep perfecting ourselves. We are happy that our movie is acknowledged not only by our viewers but also on the professional level.”
Mirrorlands opened its fall festival season at Montreal’s Animaze fest, where it had its Canadian premiere on September 1. Already nominated Best Animation at Cartoons on the Bay (Italy) and awarded at the Prague Independent Film Festival (Czech Republic) — as well as screening at over 20 events this year — the movie is currently engaged at TIFF. The previous three Snow Queen films have screened in over 150 countries.