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Wolfwalkers TIFF Screening, UK & Ireland Cinema Release Confirmed

Wolfwalkers, Tomm Moore's follow up to Song Of The Sea, has been top of our most wanted list since we first heard about it- just around the time Song Of The Sea came out. Although it feels like we've been waiting forever, the film is on track to finally come out later this year.

The film has been acquired by Apple for worldwide release on their Apple TV+ streaming service. Although this was a major vote of confidence for the producers Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, fans have been concerned over whether they would get a chance to see the film in cinemas. Now we finally have some answers on that.

Cartoon Saloon's films have had a good relationship with Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and several of their films have received their world premieres there. Due to the pandemic, TIFF 2020 is a stripped-down affair featuring limited in-person screenings (a mix of drive-ins and socially distanced events) and digital screenings. Wolfwalkers will be screening first as a digital special event from 6PM (local time) on September 12, via Bell Digital Cinema. Unfortunately, unlike some virtual festivals who have taken the opportunity to go global, virtual screenings from TIFF will only be available in Canada. Canadian readers can get their tickets here.

TIFF describes the film:

The Oscar-nominated animation studio behind The Secret of the Kells returns with the tale of a magical, unlikely friendship between two girls in 17th-century Ireland.
The Oscar-nominated animation studio behind the TIFF selections The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner returns with the tale of an unlikely — and magical — friendship between two girls in 17th-century Ireland.

Wolfwalkers opens during Oliver Cromwell’s brutal colonization of Ireland, in the county of Kilkenny, which has fallen to English settlers after a bloody siege. On Cromwell’s orders, a young apprentice hunter, Robyn Goodfellowe (voiced by Honor Kneafsey), and her father, Bill (Game of Thrones’ Sean Bean), are sent from England to track and kill the last of the wolves that live in woods outside the city walls. Adventurous and rebellious, Robyn sneaks into the woods and discovers a world unlike any she’s ever known. There she meets Mebh (Eva Whittaker), a wild girl who was raised by wolves, and through her unique new friend begins to realize it’s not the forest that should be feared, but the “townies.” But, as she grows closer to the forest world, her relationship with her father is put to the test, as Robyn herself becomes one of the very things he is ordered to obliterate.

The final instalment in directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s “Irish folklore trilogy” is a stunning testament to their singular animation style and storytelling skills. With visual references to pre-Celtic imagery and Studio Ghibli alike — and some catchy songs — Wolfwalkers is an instant classic for all ages.

Following the premiere announcement, Irish indie outfit Wildcard Distribution announced that they will release Wolfwalkers in UK & Irish cinemas later this year.

There are no further details yet, and the film is not even listed on the distributor's website yet.   However, this is fantastic news, not only for fans in the UK and Ireland, but also for fans everywhere, as it confirms that Apple is willing to partner with local distributors to see the film play on the big screen.

We would not be surprised to see Apple make a similar deal in the US. GKIDS would be the obvious choice, as they have a proven track record with releasing all of Cartoon Saloon's prior films. However, when it might be is more of a pertinent question right now. While UK cinemas are gradually opening up and returning to (socially distanced) business, it would be extremely risky to date a release in the US right now, as many screens are still not re-opened.

Apple have not announced a date yet that Wolfwalkers will be available on Apple TV+, but it is expected to be later in 2020.