Netflix Returns to Annecy Festival With an Ambitious and Uniquely Diverse Slate
Plus: Exclusive Looks at Nimona, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, Blue Eye Samurai and Much More
Annecy, France; Wednesday, June 14, 2023 - Today, Netflix took over the Théâtre Bonlieu stage at Annecy Film Festival presenting its "From Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget to Blue Eye Samurai - See What's Next @ Netflix'' panel, featuring conversations with award-winning filmmakers and creators, exclusive first looks and behind-the-scenes sneak peaks. This session followed the trailer release of highly anticipated feature film Nimona and the announcement of, Orion and the Dark, an animated film from iconic screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, coming in 2024.
Following a monumental year for animation at Netflix - with wins at the Oscars and BAFTA (Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio), the Primetime Emmys (Arcane; Love, Death + Robots) and a sweep of the animated program categories in the inaugural Children's & Family Emmys competition - the studio returned to Annecy with an exciting slate of diverse, ambitious films and series, highlighting its continued drive to bring the best of animation and storytelling to its members around the world.
Industry expert, Brooke Keesling hosted the See What's Next @ Netflix session and kicked off with a look at the coming-of-age animated musical comedy Leo starring Adam Sandler, featuring an introduction by directors Robert Marianetti, Robert Smigel and David Wachtenheim as well as a specially recorded message from lead actor and writer/producer Adam Sandler.
On coming to Annecy the directors (Marianetti, Smigel and Wachtenheim) said: "It's been a long journey for us, from making cartoons for grownups on Saturday Night Live to directing an animated musical about a class pet, but we're thrilled to be here in Annecy to share it. Leo is voiced by Adam Sandler and of course, it's silly and funny but it's also about honest emotions and situations that every kid (and parent) experiences in elementary school. We hope people of all ages will relate to it."
Up next, was a dynamic conversation about the upcoming animated series Blue Eye Samurai co-created by Academy Award nominee Michael Green and Amber Noizumi. Blue Eye Samurai executive producer Erwin Stoff and supervising director and producer Jane Wu shared the vision for the story of a mixed-race master of the sword who lives a life in disguise while seeking revenge in Edo-period Japan.
Blue Eye Samurai executive producer Erwin Stoff stated, "Animation has always been a great medium for storytelling and Annecy is the best global stage to introduce audiences to Blue Eye Samurai. Michael Green and Amber Noizumi have assembled a tremendously talented team of artists and actors to bring their spectacularly creative and distinct vision to life."
Jane Wu commented, "With Blue Eye Samurai, we are setting out to tell an ambitious new story and we can't wait for audiences around the world to be introduced to this emotionally grounded animated drama with a live-action attitude."
Multi-award-winning industry leaders Aardman (Sam Fell - director; Peter Lord - executive producer; Leyla Hobart - producer) took to the stage for the second part of the session, discussing the eagerly awaited stop-motion film Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget. Outlining their vision for the sequel to the highest-grossing stop-motion animation of all time (Chicken Run), the team also exclusively confirmed that the film will premiere globally on Netflix on Friday, December 15.
Director Sam Fell highlighted how the festival felt like the perfect home to showcase his new film: "It's great to be back at Annecy, especially to share a first look at Aardman's new baby - Dawn of the Nugget. We've poured every bit of technical and creative know-how we've learned over 40 years of filmmaking into her. She's a chip off the old block from an amazing predecessor - we love her to bits and are so excited to show her to the world."
Aardman Co-Founder and the film's executive producer Peter Lord commented: "It's wonderful to be returning to Annecy, the greatest animation festival in the world. I came here years ago with Nick Park when we co-directed our first movie Chicken Run. We both felt that there hadn't been nearly enough truly memorable chicken heroes in movies, and we set out to correct that injustice with our film. Since then, it's been amazing to watch those characters become beloved by audiences all over the world. Well, now they're making their return in Dawn of the Nugget - a thrilling new chapter which I'm delighted to say is being directed by the equally amazing Sam Fell. For all of us, humans and chickens alike, the adventure continues."
Throughout the panel, audiences were treated to exclusive clips from Exploding Kittens, a new adult animated comedy series starring Tom Ellis and Lucy Liu; and the Anthony Stacchi-helmed animated feature film, The Monkey King, an action-packed family comedy. The panel wrapped with a sizzle reel featuring the best of what's to come from Netflix animation including sneak peaks at Pokémon Concierge, Mech Cadets and Big Mouth.
Brooke closed the session reminding audiences of the exclusive screening of must-see animated feature Nimona tonight, featuring Nick Bruno & Troy Quane (directors), ND Stevenson (creator), Karen Ryan & Julie Zackary (producers) plus a "Making Of" session on Thursday, June 15.
Nimona directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane spoke of their excitement of showcasing their film at Annecy, and what audiences can expect: "After a long journey, full of unexpected twists and unforeseen turns, we are all so excited to be able to share Nimona with the world and to finally talk about the challenges and joys that went into bringing this film to life! There's no better place we could imagine unveiling the film than right here in Annecy, at the preeminent animation festival in the world. Surrounded by like-minded people who love animation and the art behind creating cinema with this medium makes the Annecy audience a dream to share our creative journey with. We know once you meet Nimona, you'll love her as much as we do!!" Nimona premieres on Netflix on June 30.
Additional Netflix Annecy activity has included an outdoor screening of Oscar and BAFTA winning Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio; a standout puppet exhibition featuring the stars of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget; episodes of Agent Elvis, Mech Cadets, ONI: Thunder God's Tale and The Sandman are in competition in the TV Films category, plus more announcements to come.
Notes to Editors
Releasing 30 June
Synopsis: When Ballister Boldheart (Riz Ahmed), a knight in a futuristic medieval world, is framed for a crime he didn't commit, the only one who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona (Chloë Grace Moretz), a mischievous teen with a taste for mayhem - who also happens to be a shapeshifting creature Ballister has been trained to destroy. But with the entire kingdom out to get him, Nimona's the best (or technically the only) sidekick Ballister can hope for. And as the lines between heroes, villains, and monsters start to blur, the two of them set out to wreak serious havoc - for Ballister to clear his name once and for all, and for Nimona to... just wreak serious havoc.
Directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, NIMONA is an epic tale about finding friendship in the most surprising situations and accepting yourself and others for who they are. Based on the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling graphic novel by ND Stevenson.
Directors: Nick Bruno & Troy Quane
Produced by Karen Ryan, p.g.a; Julie Zackary, p.g.a.; Roy Lee
Executive Producers: Megan Ellison, Robert L. Baird, Andrew Millstein, John Powers Middleton
Based Upon the Graphic Novel by ND Stevenson
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz (Nimona), Riz Ahmed (Ballister Boldheart), Eugene Lee Yang (Ambrosius Goldenloin), Frances Conroy (The Director), Lorraine Toussaint (Queen Valerin), Beck Bennett (Sir Thoddeus Sureblade), Indya Moore (Alamzapam Davis), RuPaul Charles (Nate Knight), Julio Torres (Diego the Squire), Sarah Sherman (Coriander Cadaverish)
THE MONKEY KING
Releasing 18 August
Synopsis: The Monkey King is an action-packed family comedy that follows a rebellious and charismatic Monkey and his magical fighting Stick on an epic quest for victory over 100 demons, an eccentric Dragon King, and Monkey's greatest foe of all - his own ego! Along the way, a young village girl challenges his self-centered attitude and shows him that even the smallest pebble can have a big effect on the world.
Director: Anthony Stacchi (The Boxtrolls, Open Season)
Producers: Peilin Chou (Over the Moon, Abominable)
Executive Producer: Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer)
Cast: Jimmy O. Yang, Bowen Yang, Jolie Hoang-Rappaport, Jo Koy, Ron Yuan, Hoon Lee, Stephanie Hsu, Andrew Pang, Andrew Kishino, Jodi Long, James Sie and BD Wong
Releasing 21 November
Synopsis: Actor and comedian Adam Sandler (Hotel Transylvania, The Wedding Singer) delivers signature laughs in this coming-of-age animated musical comedy about the last year of elementary school - as seen through the eyes of a class pet. Jaded 74 year-old lizard Leo (Sandler) has been stuck in the same Florida classroom for decades with his terrarium-mate turtle (Bill Burr). When he learns he only has one year left to live, he plans to escape to experience life on the outside, but instead gets caught up in the problems of his anxious students - including an impossibly mean substitute teacher. It ends up being the strangest but most rewarding bucket list ever...
Directors: Robert Marianetti, Robert Smigel, David Wachtenheim
Produced by: Happy Madison
Cast: Adam Sandler, Bill Burr, Cecily Strong, Jason Alexander, Rob Schneider, Sadie Sandler, Sunny Sandler, Jackie Sandler, Heidi Gardner, Nick Swardson, Nicholas Turturro, Robert Smigel, Jo Koy, Stephanie Hsu
CHICKEN RUN: DAWN OF THE NUGGET
Releasing 15 December
Synopsis: From the multi Academy and BAFTA award-winning Aardman (Creature Comforts, Wallace & Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep), and Academy Award(R) and BAFTA-nominated director Sam Fell (ParaNorman and Flushed Away, respectively), comes Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, the eagerly anticipated sequel to the beloved and highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, Chicken Run. Having pulled off a death-defying escape from Tweedy's farm, Ginger has finally found her dream - a peaceful island sanctuary for the whole flock, far from the dangers of the human world. When she and Rocky hatch a little girl called Molly, Ginger's happy ending seems complete. But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new and terrible threat. For Ginger and her team, even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk - this time, they're breaking in!
Director: Sam Fell
Story by: Karey Kirkpatrick & John O' Farrell
From a screenplay by: Karey Kirkpatrick & John O' Farrell and Rachel Tunnard
Producers: Steve Pegram, Leyla Hobart
Executive Producers: Peter Lord, Nick Park, Carla Shelley, Paul Kewley, Karey Kirkpatrick
Cast: Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Imelda Staunton, Lynn Ferguson, David Bradley, Jane Horrocks, Romesh Ranganathan, Daniel Mays, Josie Sedgwick-Davies, and Nick Mohammed
ORION AND THE DARK
Releasing in 2024
Synopsis: Orion seems a lot like your average elementary school kid - shy, unassuming, harboring a secret crush. But underneath his seemingly normal exterior, Orion is a ball of adolescent anxiety, completely consumed by irrational fears of bees, dogs, the ocean, cell phone waves, murderous gutter clowns, and even falling off of a cliff. But of all his fears, the thing he's the most afraid of is what he confronts on a nightly basis: the dark. So when the literal embodiment of his worst fear pays a visit, Dark whisks Orion away on a roller coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of in the night. As the unlikely pair grows closer, Orion must decide if he can learn to accept the unknown - to stop letting fear control his life and finally embrace the joy of living.
Director: Sean Charmatz
Written by: Charlie Kaufman
Voice Actors: Jacob Tremblay as "Orion," Paul Walter Hauser as "Dark"
Producer: Peter McCown
Executive Producer: Walt Dohrn and Bonnie Arnold
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Based on the book by Emma Yarlett
GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S PINOCCHIO
Synopsis: Academy Award(R)-winning director Guillermo del Toro and award winning, stop-motion legend Mark Gustafson reimagine the classic Carlo Collodi tale of the fabled wooden boy with a whimsical tour de force that finds Pinocchio on an enchanted adventure that transcends worlds and reveals the life-giving power of love.
Director: Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro and Patrick McHale
Based on the Book Pinocchio Written by Carlo Collodi
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, p.g.a.; Lisa Henson; Gary Ungar, p.g.a.; Alex Bulkley, p.g.a. & Corey Campodonico
Cast: Gregory Mann, Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman
BLUE EYE SAMURAI
Releasing in 2023
Synopsis: A mixed-race master of the sword lives a life in disguise while seeking revenge in Edo-period Japan.
Creators/Writers/Executive Producers/Co-Showrunners: Michael Green and Amber Noizumi
Supervising Director/Producer: Jane Wu
Executive Producer: Erwin Stoff
Voice Cast: Maya Erskine; George Takei; Masi Oka; Randall Park; Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa; Brenda Song; Darren Barnet; Kenneth Branagh
Releasing in 2023
Synopsis: The eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell reaches epic proportions when both God and the Devil are sent to Earth - in the bodies of chunky house cats.
Showrunners: Shane Kosakowski and Matthew Inman;
Executive producers: Mike Judge, Greg Daniels and Dustin Davis of Bandera Entertainment; executive producers Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping for the Chernin Entertainment Group; and executive producers and creators of the Exploding Kittens franchise, Elan Lee and The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman.
Voice Cast: Tom Ellis, Lucy Liu, Ally Maki, Mark Proksch, and Sasheer Zamata
Releasing 10 August
Synopsis: Mech Cadet Yu is the story of Stanford Yu, a young janitor who is unexpectedly chosen to join the sacred ranks of the mech cadets at Sky Corps Academy. After he unintentionally bonds with a robot, Yu is thrown into training in the face of an impending alien Sharg attack, hoping to prove he is worthy of being there at all.
Showrunner/ EP: Aaron Lam
Based on the popular comic from BOOM! Studios
Cast: Daniel Dae Kim, Ming-Na Wen, Brandon Soo Hoo, and Debra Wilson.
BIG MOUTH SEASON 7
Releasing in 2023
Synopsis: Big Mouth is a half-hour edgy adult animated comedy from real-life best friends Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg about the glorious nightmare that is teenage puberty. Comedian John Mulaney lends his voice to the character of Andrew, while Kroll (who serves as co-creator, executive producer) voices many including best friend Nick. Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Ayo Edebiri and Jessi Klein are among those who lend their voice to the series. Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg and screenwriter-directors Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett are all creators and executive producers on the series. Big Mouth is a Netflix production.
Executive Producers: Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett
Cast: Nick Kroll, John Mulaney, Jessi Klein, Jason Mantzoukas, Ayo Edebiri, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, Andrew Rannells and Jordan Peele
Synopsis: Expanding the Pokémon world, the story follows Haru, a concierge at the 'Pokémon Resort,' and her interactions with Pokémon and their owners who visit as guests.
Studio: dwarf studios [Japan]
Released March 17, 2023
Synopsis: Elvis Presley trades in his jumpsuit for a jet pack when he is covertly inducted into a secret
government spy program to battle the dark forces that threaten the country he loves - all while holding
down his day job as the King Of Rock And Roll
Co-Creators / Executive Producers: Priscilla Presley and John Eddie
Showrunner / Head Writer / Executive Producer: Mike Arnold
Co-Showrunner / Writer: John Eddie
Executive Producers: Kevin Noel, Matthew McConaughey, Chris Prynoski, Shannon Prynoski,
Antonio Canobbio, Ben Kalina, Jamie Salter, Corey Salter, Marc Rosen
Co-Executive Producer: Fletcher Moules
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Kaitlin Olson, Johnny Knoxville, Niecy Nash, Tom Kenny and
ONI: THUNDER GOD'S TALE
Released: October 21, 2022
Synopsis: In a world filled with the oddball gods and monsters of Japanese mythology, one of the creature's free-spirited daughters, Onari, is determined to follow in the footsteps of the mighty heroes of lore, but her unique powers are yet to be revealed. Does she have what it takes to fight to protect her peaceful village from the encroaching threat of the gods' mysterious enemies, the "Oni"?
Creator / Showrunner: Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi
Executive Producers: Dice Tsutsumi, Robert Kondo and Kane Lee
Producer: Sara K. Sampson
Co-Executive Producers: Sara K. Sampson and Megan Bartel
Writer: Mari Okada
Cast: Momona Tamada, Archie Yates, Craig Robinson, Tantoo Cardinal, Brittany Ishibashi, Omar Miller, Anna Akana, Charlet Takahashi Chung, Miyuki Sawashiro, Yuki Matsuzaki, Seth Carr, Robert Kondo and George Takei
Released: August 5, 2022
Executive Producer / Showrunner / Writer: Allan Heinberg
Executive Producers / Writers: David S. Goyer, Neil Gaiman
Developed by Neil Gaiman & David S. Goyer & Allan Heinberg
Based on the DC Comic THE SANDMAN by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg
Starring: Tom Sturridge, Boyd Holbrook, Patton Oswalt, Vivienne Acheampong, Gwendoline Christie, Charles Dance, Jenna Coleman, David Thewlis, Stephen Fry, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Mason Alexander Park, Donna Preston, Vanesu Samunyai (formerly known as "Kyo Ra"), John Cameron Mitchell, Asim Chaudhry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Joely Richardson, Niamh Walsh, Sandra James Young, Razane Jammal and Mark Hamill
Directors: Mike Barker (101), Jamie Childs (102, 103, 104, 105), Mairzee Almas (106), Andrés Baiz (107, 108), Coralie Fargeat (109), Louise Hooper (110)
Writers: Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer, Allan Heinberg (101), Allan Heinberg (102), Jim Campolongo (103), Austin Guzman (104), Ameni Rozsa (105), Lauren Bello (106), Heather Bellson (107), Alexander Newman-Wise (108), Vanessa James Benton (109), Jay Franklin (110)