Last night marked the U.S. theatrical debut of Tomm Moore’s Song of the Sea. The GKIDS-distributed film is currently playing in one Manhattan theater—the IFC Center (323 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10014)—and will expand to other U.S. cities early next year. Don’t settle for it on a TV or tablet screen; the film’s scrupulously detailed production design and cinematic approach merit a big-screen experience. [UPDATE: Canadian audiences can see the film, too, at Toronto’s TIFF Lightbox.]

Moore, whose first feature The Secret of Kells was nominated for an Oscar, is currently in New York and conducting Q&As at a number of the the screenings this weekend, including two screenings on Sunday.

Look for more coverage of the film on Cartoon Brew soon, but for now, I want to share the opinion of another individual who knows a thing or two about design and filmmaking: animation legend Gene Deitch. He wrote me from his home in Prague a few days ago with the following thoughts on Song of the Sea:

I was bewitched and twitching with envy, watching the screener of Song of the Sea. Oh, how I wish I could have produced something on this level! Today, the screener descended into my hands from animation heaven! STUNNING! It’s exactly what I’ve been hoping to see, an animation feature not attempting to ape live-action movie visual realism, but something capable of following the graphic stylishness of The Secret of Kells—another triumph from Tomm Moore. Once again from him we are gifted with an animated film that raises the bar and the graphic art potential of cinema animation. It probably won’t sell any dolls or games or whatever, but it does what cinema animation was born to do. Will it have any chance in the multiplexes? Gold medals are assured, but only gold bullion will allow Tomm Moore to carry on with his great vision!

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