a man, a boy and his dog walk across a beach

Kensuke’s Kingdom announces major new financiers as the animated feature starts full production

Previously announced voice cast includes Sally Hawkins, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe and rising star Raffey Cassidy set to star in Frank Cottrell-Boyce adaptation of Michael Morpurgo best-selling novel.

Lupus Films announces major financiers are on board animated feature Kensuke's Kingdom as the film, directed by Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry from a script written by Frank Cottrell-Boyce and based on Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel, goes into production.  

Kensuke's Kingdom is backed by BFI and Ffilm Cymru Wales, awarding funds from the National Lottery, Creative Wales and Film Fund Luxembourg. Production partners are Luxembourg-based Melusine Productions, French production company Le Pacte and Cardiff-based animation studio Bumpybox Ltd. A UK, Luxembourg and French co-production between, production is taking place in London, Cardiff, Luxembourg City and Paris.

Producers for the film are award-winning producers and founders of animation studio Lupus Films, Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding (Ethel and Ernest, The Snowman and the Snowdog, The Tiger Who Came to Tea), Sarah Radclyffe, who co-founded Working Title and has since produced or executive produced over 30 feature films, and Michael Powell Award winner Barnaby Spurrier (Rising Phoenix, Somers Town).

Co-producers include Academy Award nominee Stephan Roelants (Ernest & Celestine, Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner) and Jean Labadie (The Zero Theorum, Only Lovers Left Alive, Paterson). The international sales agent is Bankside Films.

Camilla Deakin, producer and co-founder Lupus Films said: “We are thrilled to have secured such prestigious finance partners and talented production associates for this exciting project during such a trying time for the industry. Animation is a perfect medium for production during lockdown, and we cannot wait to get the production and creative processes started.”

Kensuke's Kingdom will feature the voices of BAFTA winner and Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Happy-Go-Lucky), BAFTA nominee Cillian Murphy (Dunkink, Inception), Academy Award nominee Ken Watanabe (Letters from Iwo Jima, The Last Samurai) and fast-rising young star Raffey Cassidy, whose recent credits include The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Vox Lux and Tomorrowland.

The screenplay has been written by BAFTA nominee Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Railway Man, 24 Hour Party People, Hilary and Jackie) and is adapted from War Horse author Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling children’s novel Kensuke's Kingdom, which is published by Egmont.  

Kensuke's Kingdom tells the story of Michael, who is taken by his family on a round-the-world sailing trip.  When a storm strikes, he and his beloved dog Stella are washed overboard and end up on a remote island in the Pacific where they struggle to survive. Unable to find food or water, Michael knows they cannot last long. But he soon realises there is someone close by, someone who is watching over him and helping him to stay alive. Following a close-run battle between life and death, the mysterious Japanese stranger - Kensuke – reluctantly allows Michael into his world and they begin to form a friendship. But something threatens to destroy the fragile world Kensuke has created on the island, and they must use all their courage, skills and resourcefulness to try to save it. A thrilling adventure story with a poignant ecological message, Kensuke's Kingdom will resonate with audiences across the world.