New Zealand is poised to enter the Academy Award race this year with 25 April, an adult-skewing animated feature based on actual journals of New Zealanders and Australians who took part in the disastrous Gallipoli invasion during World War I.

Tomorrow, the film starts a one-week theatrical run in Los Angeles County at the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino. Here is the trailer:

Per its official description, the documentary-style film “weaves together animated ‘interviews’ based on the diaries, letters, and memoirs of six people who were actually there,” to tell “the compelling and heart-wrenching tale of war, friendship, loss and redemption using the words of those who experienced it.”

25 April may have greater resonance for New Zealanders and Australians, where April 25 is observed as Anzac Day, the equivalent of America’s Memorial Day. The holiday, marking the first day of the Gallipoli campaign, was initially started to commemorate the large loss of life suffered by New Zealanders and Australians who fought the Ottoman Empire on behalf of the British during the battle.

25 April marks just the second homegrown animated feature to ever come out of New Zealand; the country’s first feature-length animation was Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale in 1986, though most of the film was actually animated in Australia.


Directed by Leanne Pooley (Beyond the Edge, Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls), and written by Pooley and Tim Woodhouse, 25 April relies heavily on motion capture created by Auckland’s Flux Animation Studio. The filmmakers have cited Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir as a key graphic influence on the film’s look.

25 April premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, and screened in competition at Annecy this year.

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