Distributor Bankside Films kicked off the first day of Berlin’s European Film Market by announced the voice cast for upcoming animated feature Kensuke’s Kingdom, as well as several international distribution partners.
Directed by animator Neil Boyle (Sherlock Gnomes, The Simpsons, Ethel & Ernest) and Kirk Hendry (Junk) from a script by BAFTA nominee Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Railway Man), the film will feature the voices of BAFTA winner and Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Happy-Go-Lucky), BAFTA nominee Cillian Murphy (Inception, 28 Days Later), Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (Letters from Iwo Jima, The Last Samurai) and young rising star Raffey Cassidy (The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Vox Lux, Tomorrowland).
Kensuke’s Kingdom has been picked up by distributors in key territories France (Le Pacte), China (DDDreams), Switzerland (Praesens) and the Middle East (Front Row Entertainment).
“We are really honored to have been able to attach such an incredibly talented voice cast to our animated film adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful book,” said Camilla Deakin, producer and co-founder of Lupus Films (Ethel & Ernest, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Snowman and The Snowdog). “Voices are absolutely key to the success of animated productions so we are really thrilled to be working with the best in the business.”
Deakin and Lupus Films co-founder Ruth Fielding are producers along with Sarah Radclyffe, co-founder of Working Title and exec producer of more than 30 feature films, BAFTA nominee Barnaby Spurrier (Somers Town) and Oscar nominee Stephan Roelants (Ernest & Celestine, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner). Executive producers are Bill Godfrey, Courtney Pledger and Tim Morris. Associate producer is Anna Webster.
Co-producers are Jigsaw Films, Lupus Films, Melusine Productions and Brennus Productions. The film will be a co-production between the U.K., Luxembourg and Ireland. Development of the project has been supported by the BFI, Film Fund Luxembourg and Ffilm Cymru Wales.
Storyboarding and main animation production will take place at Lupus Films’ studio in London, overseen by Deakin and Fielding, with additional animation and coloring at Melusine Productions in Luxembourg overseen by Roelants. VFX and post-production will take place in Ireland at Windmill Lane VFX.
Kensuke’s Kingdom tells the story of Michael, who is taken by his family on a round-the-world sailing trip. When a storm strikes he is washed overboard and ends up on a remote island in the Pacific where he struggles to survive on his own. Unable to find food or water, as the boy and his dog curl up to sleep, Michael knows they cannot last long. But he soon realises there is someone close by, someone who is watching over him and helping him to stay alive. Following a close-run battle between life and death, the mysterious Japanese stranger – Kensuke – reluctantly allows Michael into his world and they begin to form a friendship. But something threatens to destroy the fragile world Kensuke has created on the island, and they must use all their courage, skills and resourcefulness to try to save it.
Kensuke’s Kingdom is a thrilling adventure story with a poignant ecological message that will resonate with audiences across the world.