EXCLUSIVE: Natalie Portman has joined the voice cast for French director Ugo Bienvenu’s upcoming animated feature Arco about a boy who uses rainbows to travel through time and his adventures as he gets stuck in the wrong era.

Portman is also producing with Sophie Mas under their joint Paris and New York banner MountainA with Félix de Givry at Paris-based Remembers.

Taking its cue from the fantasy premise that rainbows are time machines, the movie revolves around 10 year old rainbow-child Arco, who lives in the distant future, 2932.

His maiden journey in his multi-colored suit does not go to plan. He loses control and veers off course to land in a near future, 2075, where Iris, a girl the same age as Arco, witnesses his fall and then makes it her mission to get him home.

Arco

Arco

Remembers

Arco is the first feature for Bienvenu after short films Maman and L’entretien and comic books. His multi-awarded best seller System Preference has been translated in over 10 languages and was released by Penguin in the US, England, and Canada at the end of 2023.

Bienvenu, who studied and now teaches at France’s famed Gobelins animation school in Paris, has built his production team from talent he trained and nurtured there.

Portman is the joining the English-language voice cast for the film which is in the process of being finalized.

The French language voice cast will feature Alma Jodorowsky (Blue Is The Warmest Colour), Swann Arlaud (Anatomy of a Fall), Vincent Macaigne (C’est La Vie, Suspended Time) and Louis Garrel (Little Women, The Dreamers) and rapper Oxmo Puccino.

Arco marks the first feature animation for Portman and Mas’ MountainA since its launch in 2020. The company made its festival debut last Cannes with Todd Haynes’ May December.

Subsequent credits include the documentary series Angel City, about the Los Angeles women’s football team ACFC, which premiered on HBO in May 2023. Its limited series Lady in the Lake, created and directed by Alma Har’el, will be released on Apple TV+ in summer of 2024.

“Sophie and I are blown away by the craftsmanship, nuance, and genius of Ugo Bienvenu’s world. We hope Arco will resonate with families all around the world, like The Iron Giant or Wall.E have in the past,” said Portman referring to Brad Bird’s 1999 Bafta-winning film and Andrew Stanton’s 2008 Oscar winner.

“The discovery of Arco has been a poetic and emotional shock for me. Arco is the spiritual child of Miyazaki and Spielberg and we are proud to start again a new animation adventure alongside a talented and passionate production team,” said Vincent Maraval, president Goodfellas, the co-parent company of Gebeka International.

Goodfellas has a long history of selling animated features, having handled international distribution on most of Hayao Miyazaki’s filmography beginning with Oscar-winning hit Spirited Away as well as The Little Prince, Red Turtle, Summit of the Gods, and Where is Anne Frank.

Gebeka International was created as a joint venture between Goodfellas (former Wild Bunch International) and animation company Gebeka Films in 2021, with a focus on all types of animation from stop-motion to 3D. 

Further upcoming titles on its slate include Liane-Cho Han and Mailys Vallade’s Little Amelie, Guillaume Ivernel’s The Legendaries and Savages by Claude Barras, the Oscar-nominated director My life as a Zucchini, which will world premiere as a Special Screening in Cannes.



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