Three animated feature films we've profiled here on S&A are among twenty-one animated features that have been submitted to the Academy for Best Animated Award Oscar consideration; and those three films are: Adventures in Zambezia, Rise of the Guardians, and Zarafa.
Zambezia is a new feature film from Triggerfish Animation Studios, about a young high-spirited falcon who journeys to the famed bird city of Zambezia, "far away in the heart of Africa."
Voice work is provided by Abigail Breslin, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, and Samuel L. Jackson in starring bird voice roles.
The title Zambezia likely comes from the Zambezi River in Southern Africa, which flows between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The $20 million USA/South Africa production is directed by Wayne Thornley. It's scheduled to be released all over Europe, but is without a US date.
Rise Of The Guardians, Peter Ramsey's Paramount/Dreamworks Animation feature film, which will be released Stateside on November 21.
In the film, when an evil spirit launches an attack on earth, the Immortal Guardians must team up to protect the innocence of children all around the world.
We highlighted the film mostly because the director is African American, which is a rare occurence when it comes to helming animated feature films within the Hollywood studio system.
And finally... over the summer, independent distributor GKids picked up US distribution rights to the French animated feature Zarafa.
Directed by Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie, the 78-minute film is a beautifully hand-drawn work of animation about a 10-year-old named Maki and the orphaned giraffe, Zarafa, who go on an epic adventure from the Sudan, where Maki escapes from slave traders, to Alexandria, Marseille and Paris.
The family-friendly film is in French with English subtitles.
The film debuted at the Berlinale earlier this year, and has since screened at a number of international film festivals.
By the way, GKids also acquired and released Chico & Rita, another animated feature (although this one more for adults) we've covered on S&A, which was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar earlier this year. So they're on a roll!
None of the above 3 films has opened commercially in the USA yet, so none of us has seen any of them. Although, under Academy rules, all films submitted are required to have LA-qualifying runs, to comply with the Academy's criteria, before they can advance in the voting process.
Eventually, the list of 21 will be voted down to just 5; and it's those 5 films that will receive official Oscar nominations, which will be announced on January 10.
Here's the full list of 21 submitted features, in alphabetical order:
Adventures in Zambezia
Dr. Seuss' The Lorax
From Up on Poppy Hill
Ice Age Continental Drift
A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
The Mystical Laws
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Rabbi's Cat
Rise of the Guardians
Secret of the Wings
Walter & Tandoori's Christmas