Salvador Simó is newly aboard as lead director on the action-adventure feature, having most recently directed Annecy hit Buñuel In The Labyrinth Of The Turtles, which was recently picked up for the U.S. by GKids. Simó and producer Manuel Cristobal have just returned from work in China with the film’s co-director Jian-Ping Li.
Dragonkeeper centers on Ping, a slave girl who dreams of freedom while looking after imprisoned dragons in the Emperor’s castle. One fateful day a dragon escapes forcing Ping to go on a mission. She must deliver the last dragon egg to the ocean and save the dragons from extinction. On her journey she learns to unlock her special powers as she discovers she is the last true dragonkeeper.
The feature is based on Carole Wilkinson’s series of fantasy novels. Nighy will voice the character of Danzi, Brit comedian Bailey will be Wang Chao, and Ping, the heroine, will be voiced by Yang, also known for UK TV drama Chimerica. The voice-over work was recorded at Air Edel Studios in London over the summer.
The film is the biggest Spain-China co-pro to date. Producers in Spain are Manuel Cristobal and Larry Levene of Dragoia Media, Domingo Corral and Gabriel Arias Salgado of Movistar+ and Mercedes Gamero from Atresmedia Cine. Song Weiwei produces for China Film Animation.
Pic is currently in production at Ilion animation studios in Spain and China Film Animation in Beijing Huairou. The early visual development has been designed by Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me) at his SPA Animation facility and completed by China Film Animation CFA in China. Delivery is scheduled for summer 2021. UK animation and genre specialist SC Films handles international sales.
Director Simó stated, “I am thrilled to join such an ambitious project. China is a fascinating country with astonishing artists!”
Producers Manuel Cristobal and Larry Levene added, “Salvador Simó is the perfect director for Dragonkeeper. We hope he will work with us on the future installments as we intend to mine the full book franchise.”