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Annecy '20: GKIDS Pick Up 'On-Gaku: Our Sound', 'Ernest & Celestine' Gets A Sequel and More

Annecy International Animation Festival is always a time that sees a lot of animation news and announcements. This year's (online) festival may be unconventional, but that doesn't mean that's going to be any less the case.

GKIDS Films have wasted no time in announcing their first acquisition from this year's line-up. Japanese independent feature On-Gaku: Our Sound is based on the independent Japanese manga by Hiroyuki Ohashi and directed by Kenji Iwaisawa.  Screening in Annecy's Contrechamps competition, the film has already won the Grand Prize for features at last years Ottawa International Animation Festival and screened at various other festivals. GKIDS will release the film in the US this year (all being well). A world away from the big-budget theatrical anime of Studio Ghibli and Makoto Shinkai, the film is almost entirely animated by Iwaisawa himself and partly brought to life by crowdfunding, it's got a spunky, spikey spirit to match its characters.

When you’re a bored teenager looking for thrills, sometimes the only thing you can turn to is rock ‘n roll. Having no skill, money, or even a full set of drums, a feared trio of high school delinquents nevertheless decide they are destined for musical glory in a quest to impress their only friend Aya, avoid a rival gang, and – most importantly – jam out.

French production company Folivari (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales) is teaming up with major Galic studio Gaumont on a new period adventure feature The Nazis, My Father and Me.  Set in New York in 1941, just weeks before the United States entered World War II, it will mix 2D animated characters with 3D animated backgrounds, to really bring 1940s New York to life. Against this backdrop, a 12-year-old German-American and a Jewish refugee find themselves on the run.

Stevie Mayer is a very intelligent twelve-year-old boy, if a little spacy at times. Of German origin, Stevie sees himself as “a real American” first and foremost, and hardly pays any mind to this war that the newspapers are talking about- but one day, his father goes missing right before his eyes, pursued by unsettling figures in raincoats and trilby hats…
His world is turned upside-down! Thrown headlong into a plot that is much bigger than himself, Stevie now finds himself being chased by the same henchmen and their associates, since, before his disappearance, his father left him with a mysterious box containing a key to a locker… but the box also contains a card for the Nazi party with a photo of his father who, to Stevie’s knowledge, had no connection to Hitler’s regime.

The film is based on a book by Robert H.Lieberman and directed by Rémy Schaepman. Lieberman, Schaepman and Olivier Legrand collaborated on the script.

Meanwhile, Folivari is partnering with StudioCanal and Mélusine Productions to produce Ernest and Célestine: A Journey in Charabia, a sequel to their Oscar-nominated 2012 original.  Returning to Ernest's homeland Charabia, Ernest and Celestine discover that music has been banned- and decide to do something about it.  Directed by Julien Chheng and Jean-Christophe Roger from a screenplay by Guillaume Mautalent, Sébastien Oursel and Jean Regnaud, it has a completely different head creative team than the original. Hopefully, as the directors come from the spin-off Ernest and Celestine TV series (which unfortunately has yet to be released in English) they will be able to recapture the charm of the first film.