The team behind the highly acclaimed animated feature Ethel & Ernest, Lupus Films and Melusine Productions, is joining forces with producers Sarah Radclyffe and Barnaby Spurrier to produce Kensuke’s Kingdom, a thrilling 2D and mixed media animated adventure based on the best-selling book by award-winning British author Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Farm Boy, Private Peaceful).
The feature film will be directed by award-winning directing team Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry, whose animation credits include The Last Belle, Junk, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Space Jam, The Snowman and the Snowdog, and numerous commercials and music videos. The screenplay is written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Hilary and Jackie, Welcome to Sarajevo, The Railway Man), who is a hugely successful children’s author in his own right. The film will be produced by Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding of Lupus Films (Ethel & Ernest, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), and Sarah Radclyffe (co-founder of Working Title Films and producer of over 30 live-action films), Barnaby Spurrier (Deadtime Stories for Big Folk, Somers Town), and Stéphan Roelants of Melusine Productions (Ernest and Celestine, Song of the Sea, Ethel & Ernest).
Kensuke’s Kingdom will follow the adventures of a boy called Michael and his dog Stella who are shipwrecked on a remote desert island. Terrified and struggling to survive, Michael soon discovers that they share the island with Kensuke – a mysterious old Japanese man who has been living on the island for decades with a family of orangutans as his companions. Keeping their distance, they treat each other with mutual suspicion. However as dangerous invaders appear on the horizon, it becomes clear they must join forces to save their fragile island paradise.
“We are very excited to be embarking on this new animated adventure with Sarah Radclyffe, Stéphan Roelants and Barnaby Spurrier,” says Camilla Deakin, co-founder Lupus Films. “Kensuke’s Kingdom is a thrilling family story with an ecological message which we hope will resonate with audiences across the world.”
“Barnaby and I are delighted to have teamed up with two of Europe’s foremost animation companies, Lupus and Melusine, and along with Kirk and Neil, are looking forward to bringing Frank’s wonderful adaptation of Michael’s much-loved story to the big screen” says Sarah Radclyffe.
“We are very proud of the partnership we had with Lupus Films on Ethel & Ernest” says Stéphan Roelants, founder and producer of Melusine Productions. “We are approaching this new collaboration on Kensuke’s Kingdom with a huge sense of pleasure and enthusiasm. This a great story and a great band of partners to work with.”
This week, Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding from Lupus Films and Stéphan Roelants from Melusine Productions attended Cartoon Movie in Bordeaux to present Kensuke’s Kingdom to the industry for the first time. Both production companies have been shortlisted for Cartoon Movie’s European Producer of the Year award for their work on animated feature Ethel & Ernest, which will also receive a special screening at the event.
A rapturous reception to Kensuke's Kingdom @CartoonMovie in Bordeaux. Here are Lupus Films' managing directors Ruth Fielding and Camilla Deakin responding to questions after the presentation
“This is a very busy time for us as we celebrate the success of Ethel & Ernest and embark on a new project with such exceptional talent behind it,” said Camilla Deakin. “We are honoured to stand next to our friends at Melusine on the shortlist for the European Producer of the Year award and look forward to continuing our highly successful working relationship on Kensuke’s Kingdom”.
Listen to co-director Neil Boyle on the Skwigly Animation Podcast promoting his own short The Last Belle all the way back in 2012 below.