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Feature Film

Shout! Factory Picks Up Hand-Drawn French Film ‘Long Way North’ for U.S. Release (Trailer)

Long Way North (Tout en haut du monde), which debuted in Annecy last June, where it won the audience award, is finally being released theatrically in France this Wednesday. The distributor Diaphana will launch it on 150 screens.

It used to be that foreign animation like this rarely, if ever, made it to the United States, but times are changing. The stylized action-adventure film directed by Rémi Chayé will make a voyage to the United States later in 2016, courtesy of Shout! Factory. It’s one of the stronger picks-ups for Shout, which has distributed other international animated features including Snowtime! and Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart. Here’s the English-subtitled trailer:

The film is not only hand-drawn, but employs a graphic approach to design and animation that deviates from the smooth Disney-style movement that Americans typically associate with hand-drawn feature animation. Chayé has some experience in this area; he was the head of layout and first assistant director on Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated feature The Secret of Kells.

The visual style isn’t the only unique selling point either. The film has a female lead, a rarity for Western action-adventure animation. Long Way North tells the story of Sasha, a young Russian aristocrat who sets out to find her grandfather and his missing ship that disappeared during an expedition to the North Pole.

While no date is set yet for the American release, the filmmakers of Long Way North recently toured the film through American studios, screening it for colleagues at Disney, DreamWorks, Paramount, Pixar, and Laika.

The film was produced by Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, and Norlum for a reported budget of €6.1 million (US$6.6 million), and has scored distribution deals throughout much of Europe, as well as other international territories. According to Screen Daily, foreign pickups so far include UK and Ireland (Soda), Belgium (Le Parc), the Netherlands (Periscoop), Luxembourg (Tarantula), Switzerland (Agora), Italy (PFA Films), Spain (Pack Magic), Norway (Storytelling), Denmark (SF), Greece (Videorama), Czech Republic (Artcam), Slovakia (ASFK), ex-Yugoslavia (MRTN), Hungary (Cirko), Poland (Vivarto), Romania (Associatia Culturala Macondo), Bulgaria (Artfest), Estonia (Menufilmid), Turkey (Digiturk), and South Korea (Challan).

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  • Marielle

    Great news! One detail: Snowtime is from Canada not France.

  • slowtiger

    A whole film in the style of 1925 travel posters … interesting. Only that line “I must save the honour of the familiy” puts me off.

    • Sara Bersani

      Why ? What’s the problem with that ?

  • mick

    Remi Chaye is a tip top fella sure enough, this is great news

  • Tomm

    Amazing amounts of talent on this project both in Denmark and France. Remi was already working on this during Kells , I’d arrive in the morning and he’d be working in designs and boards it’s a true labour of love and well worth seeking out.

  • ea

    I’m glad they’re bringing these types of movies ’cause 2016 looks pretty meh for american animated features.

    • Dave 52

      How?

      • Sara Bersani

        Just look at them

        • Matthew Koh

          Oh come on! Kubo is not bad at least.

          • Sara Bersani

            I wasn’t talking about Kubo. I was pointing trolls, the secret life of pets, kentucky fried panda 3, storks, ice age 4, sing and other dreck like that. The fact that angry birds could come out better than expected tells a lot

          • Sara Bersani

            Only Zootopia seems to show some potential, but I’ll bet it will end up wasted.
            I’ll watch Kubo’s trailer

  • Mister Twister

    Sometimes I wonder what The North thinks about all this.

    “What could I possibly have, that drives humans to come to me that stick a flag in my snow?”

  • Inkan1969

    Shout! Factory’s practice has been to have only a one-week theatrical release in about a dozen theaters. At the same time, Shout! Factory makes the movie available on DirecTV pay-per-view. This was the case for “Thunder and the House of Magic”, “Jake and the Cuckoo Clock Heart” and “The Seventh Dwarf”. Their main means of distributing movies is through DVD.

  • marti386

    This looks really good.

  • Sara Bersani

    No, he’s one who collaborated with him