The Playmaker Munich has signed with producer Ulysses Films to handle international sales for its upcoming family animation project “Pirate Mo & the Legend of the Red Ruby,” which has a planned release of early 2026.
Ulysses produced animation box-office hits such as “The Amazing Maurice” and “Niko & the Way to the Stars.”
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The script for “Pirate Mo,” which is based on Kirsten Boie’s bestselling novel, was written by Richie Conroy, and the director is Florian Westermann, co-director of “The Amazing Maurice.”
The Playmaker team will present “Pirate Mo” at the Marché du Film in Cannes, and will deliver the first teaser presentation at their booth, and at their upcoming highlights market screening on May 18.
Emely Christians, one of the film’s producers, and CEO of Ulysses, said: “I’m really happy that we’ve found a great ‘world sales port’ for our ‘Pirate Mo’ film. The project is very close to my heart. The story is unique and now we’re making a warm hearted great film from Richie Conroy’s wonderful script. Having The Playmaker on our side is a great addition!”
Moritz Hemminger, deputy head of sales and acquisitions at The Playmaker, responded: “’Pirate Mo’ is a highly entertaining, fun and big adventure for the entire family and the story contains also a wonderful and important life lesson for the young and old audience. All creatives and producers involved on ‘Pirate Mo’ really are our absolute dream team. Ulysses Films have made a name for themselves and keep on impressing by delivering the highest international standard when it comes to commercial family entertainment in the animation sector.”
The film starts on board a ragtag pirate ship, back in the day when terrible pirates roamed the seven seas. A young girl, Mo, grows up with a crew of seadogs and the ship’s pet… a goat. Mo has been brought up by the ship’s kindly captain, Claas, as his own child, but in fact arrived by chance among the sailors as an infant, swaddled in rags.
Having grown up into a brave and boisterous girl, Mo must wrestle with her father’s career of piracy, and overcome many trials as she seeks to understand the enigma of her birth.
One day, captured by the wicked pirate Peg Leg Olle, Mo bumps into a resourceful young cabin boy, Hannes, and his pet bird. Together with Hannes, Claas, his motley crew and their helpful pets, brave Mo will have to defeat Peg Leg Olle and fulfill her childhood prophecy of finding the Blood Red Ruby of Fortune to restore peace and harmony to the land.
Westermann has almost 20 years of experience in the animation industry, and has worked in every department it has to offer. He worked as a line tester, layout artist, animator, render wrangler, compositing supervisor, and art director. He worked on “Laura’s Star,” “Niko and the Way to the Stars,” “Ooops! Noah Is Gone…” and “Luis and the Aliens.” Most recently he co-directed “The Amazing Maurice,” alongside Toby Genkel.
“Pirate Mo” is produced by Christians and Sonja Matthes at Ulysses Films, in co-production with Letterbox Filmproduktion (Holger Ellermann), arx anima (Dunja Bernatzky, Kris Staber) and Arxlight (Nicolás Matji). The production is supported and funded by MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and Creative Europe MEDIA Slate Funding.
The distribution partners include German broadcaster NDR, DCM, which will distribute in Germany and Austria, and A Contracorriente Films, which will distribute in Spain.
The Playmaker will also launch several other new films and present first promos at Marché du Film, including family movie “WOW! Message from Outer Space,” produced by SamFilm, the German producers behind box-office hits and franchises “Windstorm,” “The Famous Five,” “The Wild Soccer Bunch,” and also “Young Winnetou and the Lost Buffalos.”
Its slate includes as well upcoming kids’ movie “Mission: School of Fun,” which is based on a book series.
Further movies listed in its lineup are the newly restored 4K version of Oscar nominated “Sophie Scholl – The Final Days” by Marc Rothemund, the restored version of “Heimat 2” by Edgar Reitz of the “Heimat” trilogy as well as horror “The Black Spider,” based on the Swiss novella by Jeremias Gotthelf, and genre breakthrough hit “Holy Shit!” by Lukas Rinker, who is pitching his newest genre project “Paws” at this year’s Cannes Frontiéres edition, which was co-developed by The Playmaker.
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