Mercury Filmworks and Goodbye Productions will co-produce the animated feature Once Our Land, a fantasy/sci-fi period piece for family audiences based on the graphic novel by Peter Ricq. The film adaptation reunites artist/director Peter Ricq with screenwriter Phil Ivanusic Vallée. The duo were the creative force behind multiple animated series including The League of Super Evil, as well as the live-action feature film Dead Shack. Part light survival horror, part action, with strong heart and a healthy dose of levity-bringing humor, Once Our Land is described as "a touching tale of trust and friendship set against the backdrop of eldritch horror."
Set in 1830's Europe, Once Our Land tells the story of 11-year-old Ingrid; a young girl forced to fend for herself in a ravaged city overrun by fearsome beasts from another world. It's in this cruel "past-apocalyptic" world where trust is in short supply that Ingrid forges an unlikely friendship with Fritz, a grizzled, old, eye-patched warrior with an unexpectedly eccentric personality. Together, Fritz and Ingrid embark on a dangerous journey to rid the city they love of the cruel beasts, and to learn to trust again.
"Once Our Land is an endearing tale of trust and friendship, family and community," Chantal Ling, VP of original series and co-productions for Mercury Filmworks, said in a statement. "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. We very much look forward to working with Peter Ricq, Phil Ivanusic Vallee and Goodbye Productions to bring this family animated feature to audiences around the globe."
"It's on the strength of this dynamic creative team that we believe in the commercial appeal of the film," Amber Ripley, who will serve as producer on the project, added. "We are excited to push the boundaries of the Canadian family entertainment into the exciting new frontier that is currently blossoming in our industry."
Once Our Land marks Ricq and Ivanusic-Vallée's second collaboration with 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.
Ricq is currently shipping out his Kickstarter-funded graphic novel, Ghosts Are People Too, which was successfully backed in November of last year and is expected to be in the hands of buyers this spring or early summer.