Indian Fable ‘Return of the Jungle,’ Pelé and Maradona Film ‘G.O.A.T.’ Lead Toonz Cannes Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Indian Fable ‘Return of the Jungle,’ Pelé and Maradona Film ‘G.O.A.T.’ Lead Toonz Cannes Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Animation studio Toonz Media Group has unveiled an eclectic slate for the Cannes Film Market.

Drawing stories from popular Indian ancient fables and retelling them with a contemporary flavor, “Return of the Jungle” is set in present-day India and revolves around a group of classmates from junior school who must outwit the biggest, meanest bully in the school. A cool and loveable grandpa by their side peps the fourth graders with inspiring stories from the jungle. The animated feature film comprises two interwoven plots – a real world featuring children and their challenges; and a jungle world featuring animals facing similar adversities – and these worlds magically meet to inspire each other.

Produced by Vaibhav Studios (Emmy nominated “Lamput”), the film is directed by Vaibhav Kumaresh. “Return of the Jungle” will be screened at the market in partnership with India’s National Film Development Corporation. Toonz represents global rights excluding India.

Also on the slate is Santiago Segura’s “G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time),” produced by Lola Escena and Toonz, where soccer legends Pelé and Diego Maradona are resurrected to settle the G.O.A.T. debate. As global fans rally behind their heroes, the competition culminates in a dramatic Brazil vs Argentina match. The film is in pre-production.

Parker Jacobs’ “Santa on a Panda,” which is also in development, will follow Santa who must enlist a flying panda to help him deliver presents. Mrs. Claus sets out to find their kidnapped reindeer, but a selfish space boy threatens to cancel Christmas entirely when he takes Santa and his panda prisoner.

John D. Eraklis and Tara Whitaker’s “Pierre the Pigeon-Hawk,” produced by Toonz, Telegael and Exodus Film Group, is in production and follows a mixed-breed Pigeon-Hawk who embarks on a journey of self-discovery, embracing his uniqueness and finding the courage to reshape his world. The voice and music cast includes, Whoopi Goldberg and Jennifer Hudson.

Nearing completion is Leo Liao’s “Emma’s Big Adventure,” which follows Emma, a girl raised by animals, and biologist Edward, on a quest to uncover her human origins. Gold Valley Films produced with Toonz.

Trimuse Entertainment, Lookout Entertainment, Toonz and Viva Pictures’ “Zombie Town,” directed by Peter Lepeniotis and featuring a cast of Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Henry Czerny, Marlon Kazadi and Maddie Monroe is complete.

Kumaresh, founder and creative director of Vaibhav Studios, said: “I am extremely thankful to my dear friends from Toonz Media Group for their support. With their experience and expertise in global sales and distribution, their international goodwill and network, I am looking forward to the promotion of ‘Return of the Jungle’ at Cannes. I am happy that they are wholeheartedly supporting an indie studio with a truly made in India product that will surely find favor in the global market place.”

Toonz CEO P. Jayakumar added: “We are thrilled to join hands with Vaibhav Studios to present ‘Return of the Jungle’ to the worldwide audience. The animated feature film with the universal theme of friendship, courage and timeless ancient wisdom provides a wholesome family entertainment and I am confident that the movie will grab attention at the Cannes Film Festival, which will mark its foray into the international market.”

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