Dash Shaw’s Animated ‘Cryptozoo’ Sells to Magnolia

Sundance 2021: Lake Bell, Michael Cera, Louisa Krause and Grace Zabriskie voice characters in the film

Johnny Dell'Angelo/Sundance Institute

Dash Shaw’s animated fantasy film “Cryptozoo” has sold to Magnolia out of the Sundance Film Festival, with the distributor acquiring the film’s North American rights.

The film, which played in the NEXT section of Sundance, follows Cryptozookeepers who try to capture Baku, a dream-eating hybrid creature of legend, and debate whether they should display these creatures or keep them hidden from the world.

Lake Bell, Zoe Kazan, Michael Cera, Louisa Krause, Peter Stormare, Thomas Jay Ryan, Grace Zabriskie and Angeliki Papoulia all voice animated characters in the film. And Magnolia is planning to release “Cryptozoo” later this year.

“Cryptozoo” was written and directed by Shaw, who is also known for his film “My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea.” Jane Samborski directed the film’s hallucinatory animation, which critics have referred to as a blend of “Yellow Submarine” and “Jurassic Park.”

“‘Cryptozoo’ is a rare creature indeed – a brilliantly original vision delivered in a wildly entertaining manner,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles said in a statement. “Dash Shaw and Jane Samborski have established themselves as artists to be reckoned with.”

“‘Cryptozoo’ has been so many years in the making,” Shaw said. “It’s been such a huge joy to see it premiere at Sundance this week. I’m so honored to join the Magnolia family, where it will sit alongside their independent, personal, beautiful films. I’m totally confident they will have it reach the audience of adventurous filmgoers who will dig it!”

The film is a Fit Via Fi presentation of an Electric Chinoland production, with Low Spark Films, in association with Washington Square Films, with support from Cinereach. The film is produced by Kyle Martin, Jane Samborski, Bill Way, and Tyler Davidson. Co-producers are Dan Janvey, Kate Moran, and the executive producers are Gail Flanigan, Dexter Braff, and Drew Sykes.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia EVP Dori Begley and SVP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, and by UTA and Hayden Goldblatt of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz on behalf of the filmmakers. Match Factory is handling international sales.

Variety first reported news of the sale.


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