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Mercury Filmworks steps into features

Peter Ricq’s Once Our Land

Canadian animation studio Mercury Filmworks has linked with Amber Ripley’s Goodbye Productions to coproduce its first animated feature film.

Based on Peter Ricq’s graphic novel of the same name, Once Our Land will be a fantasy/sci-fi period piece for family audiences, with Phil Ivanusic Vallée serving as screenwriter.

Set in 1830s Europe, Once Our Land tells the story of an 11-year-old girl forced to fend for herself in a ravaged city overrun by fearsome beasts from another world.

She forges an unlikely friendship with a grizzled, eye-patched warrior with an eccentric personality, and the two embark on a dangerous journey to rid the city they love of the cruel beasts and to learn to trust again.

The film adaptation reunites artist/director Ricq with screenwriter Ivanusic Vallée, the pair having previously worked together on multiple animated series including The League of Super Evil and live-action feature film Dead Shack.

It is also the duo’s second collaboration with producer Ripley (Entanglement, Dead Shack, Dreamland) and their first collaboration with Mercury Filmworks. The team recently received Telefilm and Harold Greenberg development funds for the feature adaptation.

Mercury Filmworks made its name in service animation and has provided work for the likes of Disney, Netflix, Apple TV+, Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon.

It began its push into original IP in 2011, and recently announced some of the new shows on its originals slate, many of which have been developed alongside its in-house animators and creatives.

Chantal Ling, VP, original series and coproductions at Mercury Filmworks, said: “Once Our Land is an endearing tale of trust and friendship, family and community. It follows the old adage that it takes a village and, at its core, is about being united in the face of adversity. I think that’s a very powerful message to share with kids.”

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