Spectacular Cross-Canada Release – More than 145 screens for Katak, the BRAVE BELUGA
As of Friday, February 24, 10th Ave Productions’ fifth animated feature will be presented exclusively in movie theatres.
With Maison 4:3 helping out on cross-Canada distribution, based on an original idea and script by Andrée Lambert, directed by Christine Dallaire-Dupont and co-directed by Nicola Lemay, with art direction by Philippe Arseneau Bussières, and produced by Nancy Florence Savard, Katak, the Brave Beluga will be presented on more than 83 screens in its original French-language version. Added to that will be the 62 screens on which the English-language version of Katak, the Brave Beluga will be shown during its Canada-wide release in weeks to come.
Screenwriter Andrée Lambert, who lives on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, specializes in productions for young audiences. Katak, the Brave Beluga is her first feature-length project.
“I wrote television series for 40 years because it was gratifying, because I felt like I was giving something to children. I had a sense that through television, it was possible to influence kids in a positive way and to help them grow.”
“For several years now, I’ve had a sailboat on which I travel along the river. My sailboat is called Katak. I didn’t choose that name. It was the first owner, who lived in Natashquan. Katak is an Innu word which means ‘far away,’ and I thought that was a good name for a little grey Beluga who sets off on a great journey.”
“Among the themes that the film deals with, the most important are difference, self-acceptance, and tolerance toward those who are different. There’s also the theme of parent-child relationships. The fact that Katak’s mother overprotects him. I think a lot of parents and children find themselves in relationships where the children are overprotected and the parents are overprotective. The relationship between Jack-Lynn and her father, the teenager rebelling against her father – that, too, will resonate with many families.”
“This film also addresses itself to those who are concerned about the decline of the Saint Lawrence Beluga. I didn’t want it to be the main storyline, but I wanted to place Katak’s story in that context, to raise people’s awareness.”
Director Christine Dallaire-Dupont, for whom this is a first directing credit after 15 years of working in Quebec’s animation sector, is very familiar with the film’s setting, and she had to overcome some challenges that were specific to this production.
“The film opens at the entrance of the Saguenay Fjord, which is a very cherished place for me, for my family. I know it well, because I spent summers there, looking at the river, hoping to see the little white specks, the little belugas in the distance.”
Reproducing this magnificent setting, along with animal species that aren’t often seen in animated films, required great creativity at every level, whether it be portraying the environment in which the adventure unfolds, creating the characters, or animating those characters.
“We faced a lot of challenges on this film, simply because of the fact that our characters are marine animals. We wanted to stay close to the animals in our acting performances. But a marine mammal has its own limitations. They don’t have hands, but small fins. They don’t have shoulders, their faces are particular, and we didn’t want to humanize them, either. For me, it was a challenge. And I think our animators succeeded spectacularly. Our characters are expressive beyond my expectations.”
After directing his first animated feature, Felix and the Treasure of Morgäa, which was set in the Magdalen Islands, director Nicola Lemay co-directed Katak’s maritime adventure – a story set in the iconic Saint Lawrence River, which flows through the provinces of eastern Canada.
“I had the immense pleasure of transposing and recreating, in stylized fashion, a part of the majestic river’s plant and animal life in computer-generated images, seeking to capture the essence, the wealth and the beauty of several iconic sites, above and below the water’s surface!”
“Quebec and Canadian audiences can see themselves reflected in Katak’s adventures, enjoying a rare local alternative to the many American films that take up our screens. I’m proud, as well, to be presenting our culture and beautiful landscape to the whole world.”
The Katak, the Brave Beluga production team is delighted to be unveiling today the terrific cast of actresses and actors who have lent their voices to the characters in this English-language version of the 100% Canadian-made animated feature film.
During recording sessions, the actresses and actors talked about their enthusiasm about being part of the English-language version.
“The animation in this movie is beautiful. Obviously, the movie takes place, I would say 95% of the time in the water so you would hope that the water, it’s just looks incredible.”
Robert Naylor, Katak
“This has been a spark for me. Because performing in an animated film has always been my dream. So I just want to go see it with my great-grandson.”
Ginette Reno, Grandma
“Only 5% of the oceans have been studied. 5%, and they take up like 75% of our world! So I think it’s great to tell stories and learn more and just be empathetic to all these creatures. And to introduce kids to that at a young age, that might sparks some curiosity or interests for them, I think is fantastic.”
Angela Galuppo, Jack-Lynn
“It’s a beautiful film. It’s not just beautiful in its story and in its characters, in its humor and adventure. It’s also physically beautiful, it’s just a magnificent landscape and the underwater shots are incredible. Visually, it is truly an exceptional work of film making. And of course, it’s a great kid’s film which means it’s full of high jinx and adventure and laughter and fun, and true emotion.”
Arthur Holden, Cyrano
The announcement of the English-language cast, whose talents will also be heard in the United States following the acquisition of this version by our southern neighbours, comes after the announcement of the actresses and actors who have breathed life into Katak’s world in the version that is being offered to French-speaking audiences.
Brief Outline of the Film:
Katak the Brave Beluga tells the story of a young Beluga whale who is still grey, though at his age he should have turned white. Because of his colour, he must live among the females, who make things worse by overprotecting him.
Affected by his ailing grandmother’s confession that she wishes she could see her old true love – whom Katak has never met – one last time, Katak decides to make her wish come true and sets out on a secret journey along the shore of the St. Lawrence toward the Arctic, intent on finding his legendary grandfather.
Over the course of this dangerous journey, he teams up with Cyrano, a sturgeon who’s embarrassed about his big nose. Tracked by the river’s most fearsome predator, the notorious killer whale Jack-Knife, Katak forms an unlikely friendship with Jack-Knife’s daughter, Jack-Lynn, who is a vegetarian.
Katak the Brave Beluga is a story of filial love, trust, independence and the right to be different, with environmental overtones. It’s a thrilling, moving and funny tale, set amidst the little-known beauty of the marine world.
Written by Andrée Lambert, illustrated by Philippe Arseneau Buissières, directed by Christine Dallaire Dupont and Nicola Lemay, and produced by Nancy Florence Savard, Katak, the Brave Beluga will be released across Quebec on February 24, 2023.
About 10th Ave Productions
10th Ave Productions is passionate about animated films. The company was behind the creation of the first 100% Canadian 3D animated feature, The Legend of Sarila, released in 2013. It also produced the hit film Rooster Doodle-Doo, the first Canadian animated feature produced in French; and Mission Kathmandu: the Adventures of Nelly and Simon. Rights to its most recent animated production, Felix and the Treasure of Morgäa, released in 2021, have been sold in over 170 countries and territories. Katak, the Brave Beluga is 10th Ave Productions’ fifth animated feature film.
About Maison 4:3
Founded in 2014, MAISON 4:3 is a a boutique distribution company that devotes all its know-how to creators and their films, so as to elaborate effective release strategies and support cinematic works at various stages of distribution. MAISON 4:3 promotes deeply human projects that are at once promising and atypical.
10th Ave Productions Website
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Communications Annie Tremblay