This weekend NYICFF concluded its festivities by premiering Roger Allers' adaptation of Kahil Gibran's The Prophet. He was even in attendance for the closing day screening and stayed afterwards for a Q&A with the audience.
What makes this movie unique is that it has animated "chapters" as IMDb says. within the main narrative from various animation studios and directors. You see work from Nina Paley, Bill Plympton, Tomm Moore, Muhammed Saeed Harib and Joann Sfar to name a few.
In short the story is about a young girl named Almitra (voiced by Quvenzhané Wallis) who has stopped speaking and is constantly getting into trouble in her local market. Her mother, Kamila (voiced by Salma Hayek) is growing tired of trying to reconnect with her daughter and having to defend her constantly to the town people. On this one particular day Almitra skips school and follows her mother to work. When her mother discovers that she is being followed she lets Almitra accompany her to work. This is where we learn that Kamila is the housekeeper for the prisoner & prophet Mustafa. It is through Mustafa's journey to freedom that he shares his wisdom on freedom, children, marriage, work, love and more.
The framing story visuals were provided by CG supervisor Chris Browne and animation director Eric Prebende. They successfully rendered a 2D/ traditional paint effects to 3D models and environments. Personally, there were some patches of rough animation, not quite sure if they used mocap that needed a bit more finessing but regardless that did not take away from the film itself.
It was announced just yesterday on Deadline.com that GKIDS had acquired North American rights and would be real eased in theaters August 7 in NY and LA before expanding the following week! How exciting!! My only suggestion would be that make sure you are well rested because the poetic scenes are so soothing you may nod off without even realizing.
You better believe I will see The Prophet for a third time this summer! Like their Facebook page and check out this clip!