Hulu and Viva Kids have secured U.S. distribution rights to the adventure film Dragonkeeper, billed as the largest-ever Spain-China co-production, animated or otherwise.
- Dragonkeeper is based on the first book from Carole Wilkinson’s fantasy novel series. The books and the film are set in an alternate history China, years after a war between humans and dragons. Young orphan Ping and her dragon companion Danzi are found out by royal guards and must flee across China to return the dragon’s egg to the ocean and save the dragon race from extinction. Along the way, Ping discovers that she has tremendous powers of her own and must unlock her potential as a Dragonkeeper.
- The film will get a theatrical release in August of 2023 before heading to Hulu.
- Dragonkeeper is directed by Salvador Simó, who recently directed the Annecy jury award-winning feature Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles, and Li Jianping, deputy secretary general of the China Animation Association and president of the Beijing Film Animation Association.
- Billed as the largest-ever Spain-China co-production, Dragonkeeper is produced by Spanish independent artists collective Guardián de Dragones and China Film Animation, part of the China Film Group. Larry Levene produces for Guardián and Song Weiwei for China Film.
- Spanish animation was originally handled by Ilion (Wonder Park, Planet 51), but after that company was purchased by Skydance Animation (Luck), a new studio was set up by Guardián de Dragones to finish production. Early visual development of Dragonkeeper was executed at Sergio Pablos’s SPA Studios in Madrid, makers of Netflix’s Oscar-nominated feature Klaus.
- Dragonkeeper’s English-language voice cast includes Bill Nighy, Bill Bailey, Anthony Howell, and Mayalinee Griffiths as Ping.
- In recent years, Viva Kids has acquired U.S. rights to dozens international family animated films. Recent pickups include Sky’s adaptation of Terry Prachett’s The Amazing Maurice, the Chinese hit Monkey King: Hero is Back, and the Quebec-produced Felix And The Treasure Of Morgäa.