VIDEO: The Secret of Kells Trailer

When you scanned the list of Oscar nominees today, one category that probably made you do a double take and say “what the heck?” was Best Animated Feature Film. Four of the five nominees are relatively known, having played on thousands of screens. But then there’s The Secret of Kells which opened in Belgium last February and never played in the U.S.

The Secret of Kells is an Irish-Belgian-French animated feature film that is set in the 9th century. The title refers to The Book of Kells, the ancient Celtic religious text that dates back to 800 AD. Co-directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, the story involves a young boy named Brendan, who lives with monks and is educated by Abbot Cellach (voiced by Brendan Gleeson), who wants to see the boy follow in his footsteps. One day, Brendan meets Brother Aidan, a master illustrator who shows him the beauty of art and stimulates his creativity and fantasy. Finally, Brendan decides to break free in search of his dream: completing the valuable Book of Kells. On his journey through the forest, he has to face his biggest fears.

Many had figured that Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo or at the very least 9 would get the rub and be nominated. Yet it was this little film that proved the prognosticators wrong. Expect The Secret of Kells to get a slow roll out to arthouse cinemas over the next month.

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