Wendell & Wild, the upcoming Netflix movie directed by Henry Selick that features the voices of Jordan Peele, Angela Bassett, Keegan-Michael Key and Lyric Ross, has been selected as the opening-night film for Animation Is Film, the growing animation festival that will run October 21-23 and October 29 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood.
It will mark the U.S. premiere of the pic, which world premiered earlier this month at the Toronto Film Festival and is due to hit Netflix on October 28. Selick, the stop-motion animation veteran behind The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach and Coraline, will participate in a post-screening Q&A. As part of the AIF special events, Wendell & Wild producer and founder and CEO of the Gotham Group Ellen Goldsmith-Vein will receive an award recognizing her impact on the animation industry.
This year’s edition also for the first time will extend from for an extra day on October 29, when juried competition winners and audience awards will be announced and a surprise special screening will take place as the closing-night film. That pic has not yet been revealed.
Overall, AIF, in its fifth edition, will host three world premieres in its lineup: Titina, Gold Kingdom & Water Kingdom, and the theatrical bow of all chapters of Tonko House’s Oni: Thunder God’s Tale. There will also be work-in-progress screenings of Disney’s Strange World and DreamWorks Animation’s Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, as well as special screenings of Apple/Skydance’s Luck, Pixar’s Turning Red and Gkids’ Summer Ghost.
“Animation continues to redefine the scope of what cinema is capable of offering,” AIF director Matt Kaszanek said Thursday. “With this, our fifth iteration, we submit to you a list of not only some of the most essential animated films of the year, but the most essential films period. The world has changed in the last five years, but the festival’s mission has not: Animation is film, and we are proud to continue screaming it from every rooftop.”
The festival was founded by Gkids and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.