NEW YORK (February 5, 2015) – GKIDS, a distributor of award-winning animation for both adult and family audiences, announced its acquisition of North American rights to KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET, the animated feature produced and spearheaded by Salma Hayek-Pinault, based on the classic, internationally acclaimed and best- selling book by celebrated Lebanese author, Kahlil Gibran. The film was an official selection at Cannes, made its North American premiere in Toronto, and is slated for a summer 2015 theatrical release by GKIDS.
GKIDS made history last month as the only independent distributor to garner double Oscar® nominations in the Best Animated Feature category – a feat the company has now accomplished twice – with A Cat in Paris and The Secret Of Kells in 2012 and again this year with The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea.
“After seeing the incredible reaction to the movie in Cannes, Toronto and Doha, I’m very excited to be working with GKIDS in bringing ‘Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet’ to North American audiences,” said Hayek. “This is one of the most personal projects I have ever done and I am extremely proud of it."
GKIDS president Eric Beckman said, “We are thrilled to be working with Salma and the entire creative team to bring this stunning and deeply moving film to theaters. The film’s message about freedom and the power of human expression could not be more relevant and timely.”
Inspired by the iconic book "The Prophet," the film features a narrative story written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King), with individual "chapters" based on Gibran’s poems that were designed and directed by acclaimed animation directors from around the world, including Tomm Moore (Oscar nominee for The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea), Joan Gratz (Oscar winner for Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), Bill Plympton (Oscar nominee for Guard Dog and Your Face), Nina Paley (Annecy winner for Sita Sings the Blues), Joann Sfar (Cesar winner for The Rabbi’s Cat), Paul and Gaetan Brizzi (Fantasia 2000), Michal Socha (Chick) and Mohammed Harib (Freej).
Gibran's book is one of the bestselling books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies in more than 40 languages, since its original publication by Alfred Knopf in 1923.
Voice cast includes Liam Neeson, Salma Hayek-Pinault, Quvenzhané Wallis, John Krasinski, Frank Langella and Alfred Molina. The score is by Oscar winner Gabriel Yared (The English Patient), with additional music by songwriters Damien Rice, Oscar winner Glenn Hansard (Once), and Lisa Hannigan and performances by Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET was produced by Salma Hayek-Pinault, Clark Peterson, José Tamez and Ron Senkowski, and executive produced by Steve Hanson, François Pinault, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Julia Lebedev, Leonid Lebedev, Naël Nasr, Haytham Nasr, Jean Riachi, Julien Khabbaz and William Nix. The Doha Film Institute (DFI) co-financed the film with Participant Media, MyGroup Lebanon, FFA Private Bank, Financiére Pinault and Code Red Productions. Production took place in France, the UK, Ireland, Poland, Canada, and the US. The deal was negotiated by Eric Beckman from GKIDS and CAA for the filmmakers, following the film’s North American premiere at Toronto International Film Festival, with GKIDS acquiring North American theatrical, digital, home video and television rights. Wild Bunch is handling international sales.
GKIDS is a distributor of award-winning feature animation for both adult and family audiences. Since opening in 2008, the company has scored six Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations – second only to Disney – with The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, Ernest & Celestine in 2014, and the two current releases, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya from Studio Ghibli cofounder Isao Takahata, and Tomm Moore’s highly anticipated Song of the Sea. GKIDS also handles North American theatrical distribution for Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki's famed Studio Ghibli library of films, one of the world’s most coveted animation collections with titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and others. GKIDS is longtime producer of the New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival, an Oscar-qualifying event and North America’s largest festival of film for children and teens. NYICFF jury members include Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Gus van Sant, Christine Vachon, Henry Selick and James Schamus. www.gkids.com/films.