Tim here with some great news for everyone who loved the 2009 Best Animated Feature Oscar nominne The Secret of Kells (which should, really, be everyone). GKIDS, the indie that Kells first put on the map, has announced that they'll be distributing diretor Tomm Moore's second feature, Song of the Sea, though they've rather cagily failed to announce a date just yet (the film is still in production). Based on the distributor's past history, I'd expect an Oscar-qualifying run in the fall, followed by a full release sometime in the spring of 2015, which isn't terribly comforting to those of us who want to see it, like, now. Just based on the images available on Moore's blog for the movie, it looks like the animators at Cartoon Saloon have taken the illuminated manuscript aesthetic gone to even richer, more tactile places.
Like The Secret of Kells, the new movie tells a story inspired by Irish folklore: in this case, selkies, a race of seal-humans whose previous cinematic appearances include the John Sayles family movie The Secret of Roan Inish and the Neil Jordan romantic drama Ondine. Kells veteran Brenan Gleeson is back to do voice work, and the music will once again by courtesy of Bruno Coulais and the band Kila, whose work was almost as key to the effectiveness of the earlier movie as the imagery was.
Having found Moore's last film to be one of the most fresh and enjoyable animated films in years, I'm ecstatic to have this clear indication that his new project will be treated with care for a North American audience. GKIDS has pushed films to four Oscar nominations in five years, including current nominee Ernest & Celestine; I'd (foolishly?) lay good money on Song of the Sea being part of the same conversation a year from now.