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The Oscar-nominated feature Ernest & Celestine will open in Los Angeles on Feb. 28, followed by a March national release.

The César-awarded French flm Ernest and Celestine is based on the popular books of the Belgian Gabrielle Vincent, and tells the unusual  friendship between a great bear, Ernest and the mouse Celestine. The French film, nominated for an Academy Award (Best Animated Feature) in its original version, will open in Los Angeles on February 28 at The Landmark Theater.

Prior to the film's opening,  GKIDS (the film's US distributor) will host a special sneak preview of the French language version of the film in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 16 at 4pm at The Landmark Theater. Both the English version (which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, as part of the Sundance Kids section) and the French language versions of the film will be released.

Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker is the Ernest in the English-language version and Mackenzie Foy (Twilight: Breaking Dawn) voices Celestine. Both the French and the English version are distributed by the independent distributor GKIDS.

Benjamin Renner co-directs the film, along with Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar (A town in panic). Production companies: Les Armateurs, Maybe Movies, La Parti, Mélusine Productions, and Studiocanal France.

Apart from Forest Whitaker and Mackenzie Foy, the English-language voice cast includes the  legendary Lauren Bacall (The Big Sleep),  Paul Giamatti (John Adams), William H. Macy (Fargo), Megan Mullally (Will and Grace), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), and Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire).  Voice recording was completed in New York and Los Angeles.

Gkids is responsible for bringing many European animated films to the US foreground (Chico & Rita, A Cat in Paris, Le Tableau); The Academy Award nomination for the French animation is the third for its animated slate, after Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris

The film will open in New York on March 14, 2014 (IFC Center),  followed by national expansion to all major US markets.

 

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