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Sony Pictures Classics Acquires ‘A Winter’s Journey’ From ‘Loving Vincent’ Animators

Alex Helfrecht directs the animated film that features John Malkovich and Jason Isaacs in the cast

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the rights to “A Winter’s Journey,” an animated film from director Alex Helfrecht and the animation team behind “Loving Vincent.”

SPC picked up the North American rights to the film as well as those for Latin America, Middle East, Scandinavia, Australia/New Zealand, Turkey, India, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Japan, Thailand, and worldwide airlines. No release date has been set.

“A Winter’s Journey” blends CGI and painted animation and is painted by the same artists behind the 2017 film “Loving Vincent.” The world of the film was even built using the PlayStation video game “Dreams” and its world-building engine, and it’s the first film to be built using the software and developed by PlayStation Studios’ multiple-BAFTA-winning games studio Media Molecule.

The film is an adaptation of Franz Schubert’s masterpiece “Winterreise,” the most performed classical song cycle in the world. Set in Bavaria in 1812, “A Winter’s Journey” follows an itinerant lovelorn poet who undertakes a hazardous walk across mountains, ice, and snow – a journey which will bring either death or a new life.

The cast includes John Malkovich, Jason Isaacs, Marcin Czarnik, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson and Martina Gedeck, and introduces Gabriella Moran. The soundtrack will be performed by baritone Andrè Schuen and pianist Daniel Heide and released by Deutsche Grammophon. 

“A Winter’s Journey” is produced by Jörg Tittel and Philip Munger at London-based Oiffy, along with Sean Bobbitt and Hugh Welchman through their Poland-based BreakThru Films, Reinhard Brundig at Germany-based Pandora Film, Benoît Roland’s Wrong Men North in Belgium, Raphaël Berdugo and Alexis Perrin in France, and Richard Mansell. Sebastien Barrillier and Yann Duboux are executive producers.

Shooting begins in June in Wrocław, Poland. 

“Especially in these times, we feel a need to escape into a different world filled with beauty and timeless music. We’re lucky to be working with some of the world’s greatest actors, artists and musicians, and couldn’t think of a better partner than Sony Pictures Classics to bring our film to diverse audiences,” say Alex and Jörg, 

Added Sony Classics in a statement: “We’ve never quite seen a project like ‘A Winter’s Journey’ before, which promises to marry world class cinema and extraordinary painting techniques with one of the great song cycles in musical history. Audiences will joyously embrace this unique theatrical experience.” 

The deal was negotiated with Paris-based mk2 Films who are handling international sales.