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The Legend Of Ochi - What We Know So Far

A24 is stepping into the animated realm with "The Legend of Ochi." Known for adult-oriented titles like Ari Aster's Hereditary and Robert Eggers' "The Lighthouse, " the upcoming project represents a move into family-friendly fare. It also stands as the venerable production company's first animated film, having already delved into TV with the acquisition of Vivienne Medrano's "Hazbin Hotel" (via AWN).

"Ochi" hails from writer-director Isaiah Saxon. In his feature debut, the creative mind behind videos for artists like Kanye West is transitioning to a narrative mode to tell the story of a girl's magical journey and the lessons learned along the way. Saxon is credited with building the entire universe of "Ochi" — including its characters and backstories, an exciting rarity in an industry that prefers the creative cover afforded by adaptations, reboots, and tired retreads (via Deadline).

Much of the director's past work has focused on animation, with some projects featured on Cartoon Network. Saxon is bringing along frequent collaborators for the film. Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth is set to provide the original score. His band also provided the soundtrack to Saxon's 2020 short film "Earth Crisis" (via Dirty Projectors and Encyclopedia Pictura).

When is the release date of The Legend of Ochi?

The film does not have a release date as of November 2021 and there's no word as to how far "The Legend of Ochi" is in terms of production. Similar features have taken years to complete, so viewers may have a long wait on their hands. Theatrical releases are not guaranteed at this point; the studio may consider a shortened theatrical window with VOD options. It's a brave new world for film distribution.

A24 already has a slate of promising titles set for upcoming years. "Red, White, and Water" chronicles a soldier's return home after suffering a serious brain injury. The film, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree Henry, hails from director Lila Neugebauer (via Collider). It does not have a release date but speculation points towards a 2022 debut. In a nod to future prospects with streaming services, A24 is also partnering with Apple for "Sharper." The Julianne Moore led project is set for a run on Apple's own streaming service Apple TV+ in addition to any theatrical run (via Deadline).

Who is in the cast of The Legend of Ochi?

A24 is keeping quiet on characters for now, mentioning only the unnamed girl and the Ochi. With so many unknowns about the characters, it falls on actor announcements for speculation about what the project might offer.

Saxon has assembled acting talent that includes Academy Award nominees Willem Dafoe and Emily Watson. Dafoe is a prime pick for the project. After decades of experience in the industry, the actor can expertly navigate the demands that come with a film like this. Watson lent her voice to 2017's "Monster Family" and its 2021 sequel; more notably, the actress voiced Violet Everglot in Tim Burton's "The Corpse Bride."

Helena Zengel is tapped to voice the young girl. The German actress made the move to international cinema with her appearance in 2020's "News of the World." "The Legend of Ochi" marks Zengel's first foray into voice acting. "Stranger Things" star Finn Wolfhard has also been added to the cast. Much like the other named stars, there are no details on who he'll play.

What is the plot of The Legend of Ochi?

"The Legend of Ochi" is a fantasy adventure that follows a young girl heading off in search of her destiny. Her first challenge comes from leaving home alone, but she'll face other events along the way. At some point, the character finds a new skill that could change the world. Discovering and communicating with the Ochi, a mysterious species of animal, truly sets her story in motion (via Collider).

Director Isaiah Saxon's work encompasses themes centered around nature. His short film, "Earth Crisis," is a dramatic exploration of serious issues including loneliness and loss. It captures aspects that are often key tenets of the fantasy genre. He's also well aware of how to communicate with younger audiences, so "Ochi" won't be too much of a tonal leap. As co-founder of an online educational resource, he's focused on creative ideas as well as online projects and learning opportunities (via Isaiah Saxon). Each one features unique perspectives and distinctive visual elements.