Chris O’Dowd (My Father’s Dragon) and Amy Huberman (A Cat Called Jam) have signed on to lead the voice cast of Puffin Rock and the New Friends, a new animated feature from WestEnd Films in collaboration with Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon and Northern Ireland’s Dog Ears.
The pic is currently in post-production, and WestEnd will launch sales at EFM where it will be showing buyers footage of the film.
Based on the Irish TV series Puffin Rock, the feature is directed by Jeremy Purcell, whose credits include the animated TV series Joe and Jack as well as the original Puffin Rock series and the animated features Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells.
The voice cast is rounded out by Beth McCafferty and Eva Whittaker (Wolfwalkers).
Puffin Rock And The New Friends will follow favorites from the animated series, including Oona, Baba, May, and Mossy, who are joined by a new cast of characters as Isabelle, Phoenix, and Marvin arrive on the island. The story starts as the last Little Egg of the season disappears under mysterious circumstances. Oona and her new friends race against time to bring the Little Egg home before a big storm hits Puffin Rock and puts the entire island in danger.
The pic is “billed as an action-packed story that celebrates our magnificent natural environment and features themes of belonging, courage, and friendship.”
Sara Daddy wrote the screenplay and was the Head Writer on the original series. The film is produced by Paul Young, Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey from Cartoon Saloon, and John McDaid and Fionnuala Deane from Dog Ears, with the feature film created by both studios.
Other crew members include editor Sophie Borlée, assistant director Lorraine Lordan and art directors Fran Bravo and Stefano Scapolan. The score is composed by Eberg.
The Puffin Rock Movie will be the first animated feature produced in Northern Ireland and is co-funded by Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Ireland, RTÉ, and BBC Alba. Wildcard Distribution will be releasing theatrically in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The original series was nominated for an International Emmy, and picked up two Kidscreen Awards and a Royal Television Award. It was acquired by various international broadcasters, including a global deal with Netflix and a Chinese acquisition by China Nebula Group (CNB), where it was broadcast on TenCent.
Purcell said: “Puffin Rock is a wonderful place to live, but what if it just doesn’t feel like your home. Sadly in the world we live in more and more children are being forced to leave all they have known and move somewhere new. Puffin Rock and the New Friends is a story of one little puffin’s journey to making friends, finding happiness and, most importantly, making a new place a home.”
Paul Young, CEO of Cartoon Saloon, added: “I’m very happy to announce our Puffin Rock feature with our brilliant partners Dog Ears, China Nebula Pictures, and WestEnd Films. There are a lot of kids hungry for some more adventures with Oona, Baba, and Friends, and we don’t want to let them down! Our movie has lots of laughs and thrills for younger viewers, and for many, we expect Puffin Rock and the New Friends will be their first cinema experience!”.
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