Anchor Bay Entertainment announced today it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the award-winning animated thriller First Squad The Moment of Truth from LA-based XYZ Films. The film was created and written by Misha Sprits and Aljosha Klimov and directed by Yoshiharu Ashino (Pokemon: Jirachi-Wish Maker, Piglets Big Movie). The film was produced by Molot Films and Studio 4C.
First Squad has garnered several nominations and awards including the Kommersant Newspaper’s Prizes at the Moscow International Film Festival, as well as Best Animated Feature at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The film has also screened at the Locarno, Moscow, Tallinn, Sitges and Fantastic Fest Film Festivals.
“First Squad offers fans a unique storyline about WWII and has received noticed from several film festivals,” commented Anchor Bay Entertainment President Bill Clark. “Anchor Bay is pleased to be releasing the film on both DVD and Blu-ray later this summer.”
The deal for First Squad was negotiated by James Shapiro and Kevin Carney for Anchor Bay Entertainment / Manga Entertainment and Todd Brown for XYZ Films.
Set during the opening days of World War II on the Eastern Front, its main cast is a group of Soviet teens with extraordinary abilities. The teenagers have been drafted to form a special unit to fight the invading German army. They are opposed by a Schutzstaffel (SS) officer who is attempting to raise from the dead a supernatural army of crusaders from the 12th Century Order of the Sacred Cross and enlist them in the Nazi cause.
Studio 4C is one of the most respected animation houses in the world, responsible for overseeing the ANIMATRIX project for Warner Brothers while also producing an impressive slate of hugely acclaimed titles of their own including the GENIUS PARTY anthology films, Masaaki Yuasa’s MIND GAME and Michael Arias’ TEKKON KINKREET. First Squad marks Molot Films first picture and the company is currently preparing additional animated projects that will start production later this year.
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