Danish animator Jannik Hastrup will give his new feature-length animated film, The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear (Drengen Der Ville Gore Det Umulige), its world premiere in France and Benelux on Dec18 as L'enfant Qui Voulait Etre Un Ours.

French distributor Gebeka will release it on 100 screens while Alternative will distribute in the French-speaking part of Benelux. Scanbox holds Scandinavian rights and will release it in Norway on Jan 17 and in Denmark on Feb7.

The film is Danish-French-Norwegian co-production between Hastrup and producer Marie Bro's Dansk Tegnefilm 2 ApS and Didier Brunner's Les Armateurs with AnimagicNet's Lars Tommerbakke acting as associate producer.

The project originated in Denmark in 1995, where Hastrup and long-time collaborator Bent Haller wrote a synopsis based on the idea that making an animated film set in Greenland would be easy because of the white background.

However, though the film attracted support from the Danish Film Institute, the project was set aside while the director concentrated on other animated films including his ambitious H.C. Andersen's The Long Shadow (1998) and the two children's films Circleen: City Mouse (1998) and Circleen: Mice And Romance (2000).

Upon seeing The Long Shadow French producer Didier Brunner expressed interest in co-producing Hastrup's next film, and together with producer Marie Bro they raised the Euros 4.4m for The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Bear with support from the Danish Film Institute, TV2/Denmark, Eurimages, Canal +, France 3 - Cinema, Carrere Group, Conseil Regional Poitou Charentes, Conseil General de la Charente, Centre National de la Cinematographie, Norwegian Film Institute and the Nordic Film- & TV-Fund.

Some 20 months in production, the film has been a collaboration between 50 European animators in Denmark and France.

International sales are handled by France Televisions Distribution - Cinema.