EXCLUSIVE: Timeless Films has boarded world sales rights to animation comedy Koati, which will be voiced and executive-produced by Modern Family star Sofia VergaraRodrigo Pérez Castro, story artist on Ferdinand, Ice Age: Collision Course and Rio 2, will direct the feature, which is created and produced by Anabella Sosa Dovarganes from Upstairs & Los Hijos de Jack Productions. Vergara will executive produce alongside Luis Balaguer, Diego Urbano, Chris Zimmer, Jose Nacif, Melissa Escobar, Upstairs Productions, Latin WE and Timeless Films.

The feature will follow three unlikely heroes: a free-spirited coati (a raccoon-like animal found mainly in Central and South America), a fearless monarch butterfly, and a hyperactive glass frog as they embark on an adventure to stop a wicked coral snake (Vergara) from destroying their homeland and friends. Additional casting is underway.

Vergara, who has previously voiced animations The Smurfs and Happy Feet Two, told us, “Koati is an invitation to celebrate — for the first time in an animated film, the magical realism of the Latin American jungles, of the Amazonian rainforest, and the fun, exotic creatures that call it ‘home’. It’s a coming of age comedy starring a cool and real family of animals the world needs to meet.”

Koati is not only a crowd-pleasing animated family film, but it also has a kind spirit at its heart,” added Timeless Films Chairman and CEO Ralph Kamp. “The beauty of its hand-drawn 2D animation style is what initially attracted us to the project and we’re thrilled to be working with Anabella, Luis, Sofia and the rest of the team to bring this story to life and introduce it to buyers in Cannes.”

The film, which has been in development since 2015, has been selected as one of five to take part in the Annecy Goes to Cannes program, which takes place at the Riviera festival and market on Wednesday 9 May. Delivery of the movie is scheduled for 2019.

UK-based Timeless Films’ slate also includes Tomer Eshed’s Dragon Rider and Reinhard Klooss’ Pets United. The animation specialist most recently distributed Monster Family, whose voice cast includes Emily Watson and Jason Isaacs, and Rock Dog, featuring Luke Wilson and J.K. Simmons. Dennis Gansel’s Jim Button And Luke the Engine Driver was released by Warner Brothers in Germany earlier this month.