Gkids has snapped up U.S. rights to Ernest & Celestine: A Trip To Gibberitia — the sequel to the acclaimed Ernest & Celestine, which landed a Best Animated Feature Oscar nom in 2014. The decorated producer and distributor of animation, celebrating its 15th anniversary, will put both the original French-language version of Gibberitia and a new English dub in theaters this year.
Both Ernest & Celestine films are based on the children’s book series by Belgian author-illustrator Gabrielle Vincent. The original helmed by Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner examines the unlikely friendship between a bear, Ernest (Lambert Wilson), and a young mouse named Celestine (Pauline Brunner). Gkids also oversaw the U.S. release for this César Award winner, distributed in France by StudioCanal.
Ernest, in the sequel, remains an ursine troubadour dedicated to a life of music and art, who sees his constant grouchiness softened by the creative whims of his friend Celestine. But when she accidentally breaks his beloved violin, they must take a long voyage to Ernest’s country of Gibbertia, home to the only artist who can repair it. When they arrive, they are shocked to discover that all forms of music have been banned in Gibbertia for many years, and a land once known across the world for its incredible musicians has fallen silent. It is then up to Ernest, Celestine and their new friends, including a mysterious masked outlaw, to bring music and happiness back to the land of bears.
Jean-Christophe Roger and Julien Chheng directed Ernest & Celestine: A Trip To Gibberitia, which opened in France in December, earned a Best Animated Feature nom at the 48th César Awards, and will have its U.S. premiere as the opening night film of the New York Children’s Film Festival in March. Guillaume Mautalent, Sébastien Oursel and Jean Regnaud wrote the script, with Didier Brunner, Damien Brunner and Stéphan Roelants producing.
“After ten years, it’s wonderful to reunite with my favorite bear and mouse, Ernest and Celestine,” said GKIDS President David Jesteadt. “Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia is full of the emotional warmth, comedy and stunning animation that made the original film so iconic. Films of this quality are increasingly rare, and we are honored to be able to partner again with the producers on a new chapter with these beloved characters.”
“We are thrilled to team up with GKIDS again and on the new adventures of ERNEST & CELESTINE, A TRIP TO GIBBERITIA,” added StudioCanal’s SVP International Sales, Chloe Marquet. “We know their incredible team will bring all of their talent and passion to releasing this film in US theatres spreading the values of kindness and friendship that are so important to our beloved mouse and bear!”
Gkids has scored a total of 12 Animated Feature Oscar noms since its founding in 2008, having landed its fourth with Ernest & Celestine. Other nominated titles from the company include The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Song of the Sea, Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There, My Life as a Zucchini, The Breadwinner, Mirai and Wolfwalkers. The company also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli film library, as well as the series Neon Genesis Evangelion, and hosts the Animation Is Film festival annually in Los Angeles.
The all-rights U.S. distribution deal for Gibberitia was negotiated between Gkids and Marquet.
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