It’s getting harder and harder nowadays to produce an animated feature that looks and feels completely original, but the Brazilian film Tito and the Birds fits the bill.
Shout! Studios, the distribution and production arm of Shout! Factory, has acquired North American distribution rights to the timely film. The company is planning a strategic rollout of Tito across multiple entertainment distribution platforms in the U.S. and Canada, beginning with a theatrical launch later this year.
The 2d film with a distinctive painterly style follows the story of a shy 10-year-old boy named Tito who lives in a world on the brink of pandemic, where fear is crippling people, making them sick and transforming them. Tito realizes, based on his father’s past research, that there may be a way to utilize the local pigeon population and their songs to create a cure for the disease, and as he tries to find a cure, he also begins the search for his missing father.
Here’s the festival trailer:
Tito is directed by Gustavo Steinberg (End of the Line), Gabriel Bitar (Cidade Cinza), and André Catoto (Say I Am Only Seventeen), and written by Eduardo Benaim and Gustavo Steinberg. Production was handled by Bits Productions and Split Studio.
“Unfortunately, it seems that the ‘fear epidemic’ that the movie dwells on is not exclusive to Brazil – it has been affecting the whole world,” says filmmaker Gustavo Steinberg. “So I hope that the movie inspires North American kids to face it – just like Tito and his friends do.”
The film premiered in competition earlier this year at Annecy, and won best feature for children at Anima Mundi. It will have its North American festival premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.
Brazilian filmmakers have been pushing the boundaries of feature animation in recent years with original projects like Luiz Bolognesi’s Rio 2096 and Alê Abreu’s Oscar-nominated Boy and the World. In fact, the music for Tito is composed by Gustavo Kurlat and Ruben Feffer, the same team that made the standout music for Boy and the World.
Shout! acquired the film through Paris-based Indie Sales, which reps worldwide distribution rights for Tito. The deal was negotiated by Jordan Fields, and Shout’s vice president of business affairs, Vanessa Keiko Flanders, and Nicolas Eschbach of Indie Sales on behalf of the filmmakers.
“We’re incredibly excited about this opportunity with Indie Sales and Gustavo,” says Melissa Boag, Shout’s senior vice president of family entertainment. “Tito and the Birds is a strikingly artful and gorgeously animated movie. It’s a stunning work of storytelling and a socially relevant film for the times we live in. This movie will spark dialogue and impact everyone who sees it.”