EXCLUSIVE: Tandem Communications is distributing, and Canada’s CBC Television, will broadcast the animated film Pirate’s Passage which has just started production. Donald Sutherland will star in, produce and co-script the adventure and coming-of-age story that’s based on the book by William Gilkerson which won the Governor General’s Award for children’s literature in 2006. Sutherland will voice the lead character, Captain Charles Johnson, an eccentric seafarer who blows into a Nova Scotia town in 1952 and helps a mother and son as they struggle to keep their inn open for business. But the captain grows more mysterious over time, with his tales of the lives and battles of old-time pirates. Sutherland’s production company, Martin’s River Ink, Inc, is making the film with animation work by Ottawa’s PIP Animation Services. Helmer Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) is co-directing with PIP’s Mike Barth. Peyton is also co-writing and will produce with Sutherland. Also among the voice cast are Carrie-Anne Moss, Colm Feore, Gage Munroe, Kim Coates, Rossif Sutherland, Megan Follows, Paul Gross, Gordon Pinsent and Terry Haig. Tandem, which is behind the Sutherland-starring crime series Crossing Lines, has worldwide rights to Pirate’s Passage outside Canada. Eric Birnberg and Thomas Walden are exec producing. The Canada Media Fund and COGECO Program Development Fund provided financing.