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News Bytes: ‘Rise of Gru’ Pushed Back, Int’l Movie Updates, Malala’s Apple Deal & More

Minions: The Rise of Gru
Minions: The Rise of Gru

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News Bytes: ‘Rise of Gru’ Pushed Back, Int’l Movie Updates, Malala’s Apple Deal & More

Apple TV+ Partners with Malala Yousafzai
The groundbreaking young Nobel laureate and women’s rights activist has entered a multiyear programming deal with streamer, which will span original dramas, comedies, documentaries, children’s series and, of course, animation, to inspire audiences around the world. Yousafzai is teaming with the platform through her new production company, Extracurricular.

“I believe in the power of stories to bring families together, forge friendships, build movements, and inspire children to dream,” said Yousafzai. “And I couldn’t ask for a better partner than Apple to help bring these stories to life. I’m grateful for the opportunity to support women, young people, writers, and artists in reflecting the world as they see it.”

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

CROWDFUND: One Week Left to Support Black Women-Led Short ‘The Romantics’
The familiar situation of having a friend who spends way too much time with their new S.O. gets taken to outer-space extremes in this fantastical, sci-fi flavored dark comedy. Originally conceived as a live-action short, the genre-mashing animation project combines the talents of director Chineme Aniagba, writer/producer Maya Sims, producer Maya Winneg, animation director/character designer Mariah Marshall, background designer Flora Rees-Arredondo and storyboard artist Christina An.  

Learn more and support the campaign on Kickstarter.

Nominations for the 71st ACE Eddie Awards
The American Cinema Editors will recognize outstanding editing in 14 categories of film and TV in a virtual awards ceremony on April 17 (11 a.m. PT). Special honors will be bestowed on Spike Lee (Filmmaker of the Year), Lynzee Klingman, ACE and Sidney Wolinsky, ACE (Career Achievement Awards). The animation nominees are:

Best Edited Animated Feature Film:
The Croods: A New Age – James Ryan, ACE
Onward – Catherine Apple
Soul – Kevin Nolting, ACE
Wolfwalkers – Darragh Byrne, Richie Cody, Darren Holmes, ACE

Best Edited Animation (Non-Theatrical):
Big Mouth “Nick Starr” – Felipe Salazar
Bob’s Burgers “Bob Belcher and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Kids” – Jeremy Reuben
BoJack Horseman “Nice While It Lasted” – Brian Swanson
Rick and Morty “Rattlestar Ricklactica” – Lee Harting
TEASER: ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’

As Cartoon Movie 2021 comes to a close, we get an early look at the highly anticipated movie which adapts Haruki Murakami’s short stories into a digital 2D drama. Written and directed by Pierre Földes, the story unfurls as a lost cat, a voluble giant toad and a tsunami help an unambitious salesman, his frustrated wife and a schizophrenic accountant save Tokyo from an earthquake and find meaning in their lives.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is produced by Cinéma Defacto and Miyu Productions (France), in co-production with Studio MA (France), micro_scope (Canada), An Original Picture (Netherlands), Doghouse Films (Luxembourg), Arte France Cinéma, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cinéma. Gebeka Films is distributing the pic in France; international sales by The Match Factory.

New Europe Plucks ‘Yuku and the Himalayan Flower’
The adorable new family animated feature from Europe has been picked up by the sales outfit, which was attracted to its “graphic style and the film’s positive message,” Deadline reports. Starring a little mouse musician who leaves her castle basement home on a quest to find a legendary bloom, Yuku and the Himalayan Flower is directed by Rémi Durin (The Wind in the Reeds) and Arnaud Demuynck (The Horn Quartet), with graphics by Paul Jadoul (The Scent of Carrots).

The film is produced by Artémis Productions, La Boîte Productions, Les Films du Nord, Vivement Lundi ! and Nadasdy Film, with presales to Canal+ Family, RTBF, Proximus and RTS. New Europe is selling through its KIDS label (Cattle Hill; Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs). Distributors already on board include Gebeka Films (France), Le Parc Distribution (Benelux), JEF (Flanders/Netherlands) and Outside the Box (Switzerland).

Yuku and the Himalayan Flower

Yuku and the Himalayan Flower

‘Minions: The Rise of Gru’ Delayed Again
Universal is pushing back the release of Illumination Ent.’s animated villain origin story a full year, penciling in a debut for July 1, 2022, according to THR. Originally due out in summer of 2020, production on The Rise of Gru was shuttered at the Paris studio as COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown, and continued theater closures convinced the studio to snap up a solid 2022 release window instead of gambling on 2021.

The pic about tweenage supervillain fanboy Gru and his misadventure with the Vicious 6 is directed by Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3, Minions). Returning voice stars Steve Careell, Pierre Coffin, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews are joined by Taraji P. Henson, Michelle Yeoh, RZA, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lucy Lawless, Dolph Lundgren, Danny Trejo and Alan Arkin. Another Illumination sequel, Sing 2, is still on deck for December 22 this year.

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