Legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli may not be making its own films any time soon, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help produce the first feature film of a renowned French animator (and if it does, don’t let anyone tell them). The Frenchman in question is commercial and short film maker, Michael Dudok de Wit. Though not as widely famous as animators like Pixar’s Pete Docter, or Ghibli’s own Hayao Miyazaki, Dudok de Wit did win an Academy Award (plus several others) in 2000 for his short film, Father and Daughter.
According to an exclusive from Screen Daily, Wild Bunch – the French distribution company responsible for brining many a Ghibli film to the world – will handle the international sales of Dudok de Wit’s first feature-length film, The Red Turtle, which they are also co-producing with Studio Ghibli. Apparently, Miyazaki himself is an admirer Dudok de Wit’s work, and wanted to work with him.
Dudok de Wit wrote The Red Turtle with screenwriter/director Pascale Ferran (Lady Chatterly, Bird People). The story is said to “[revolve] around a man marooned on a desert island whose attempts to escape on a raft are thwarted by a giant turtle that sinks the makeshift craft.”
No release date has been set for The Red Turtle, but there will be a “50-second extract” shown at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, which is taking place from May 13th to May 24th.