“Nimona” took a twisty road to the big screen. But now it’s ready for its debut at Annecy Animation Film Festival. Pictured above is an exclusive still from the anticipated fantasy adventure.
Based on the graphic novel by N.D. Stevenson, the feature follows Ballister Boldheart, a knight in a futuristic medieval world who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The only one who can help him prove his innocence is Nimona, a mischievous teen who happens to be a shapeshifting creature he’s sworn to destroy.
“Nimona” started out at 20th Century Fox’s animation shingle Blue Sky Studios, which optioned the novel in 2015. Nick Bruno and Troy Quane were brought onboard in 2020 when creative direction of the film changed. The film continued production apace even after Disney completed its $71.9 billion merger with 20th Century Fox in 2019.
Production continued during the pandemic as well, but then in 2021, Disney shuttered Blue Sky.
Undaunted, the team, led by former Blue Sky co-presidents Andrew Millstein and Robert Baird, shopped the animatic around town. The film caught the attention of Annapurna CEO Megan Ellison, who was familiar with the film and had been tracking the project. “I think anyone who has ever felt misunderstood or like an outsider will connect with N.D. Stevenson’s story like I did,” she said in press material for the film. “When I watched the storyboard reels I immediately fell in love with it. Nothing about it felt conventional or built off market research. It’s bold and mischievous and full of love. Nimona has such a powerful voice.”
Annapurna stepped in and signed up Millstein and Baird as executive producers. They created Shapeshifter Films so the team could finish “Nimona,” and subsequently joined the company, forming Annapurna Animation.
DNEG Animation was hired in the spring of 2021 to help with the animation, becoming collaborators on the film.
Ellison found a distribution partner in Netflix, which has been behind many innovator animated features including “Klaus,” “I Lost My Body,” “The Sea Beast,” “Wendell & Wild” and “Over the Moon.”
The voice cast stars boasts Riz Ahmed, Chloë Grace Moretz, Eugene Lee Yang, Lorraine Toussaint, Indya Moore, Julio Torres, Frances Conroy, Beck Bennett, RuPaul Charles and Sarah Sherman.
It world premieres in Annecy June 14, and will be released on Netflix June 30.