Cinematography technology group ARRI and Munich-based animation studio Trixter have forged a strategic alliance to co-produce and sell animation internationally.

The first joint project by the two partners will be the family animation feature Ploe - You Never Fly Alone, which is being developed by GunHil, the Icelandic animation studio behind box office hit Legends of Valhalla – Thor.

Ploe is the story of a little bird that hasn’t learned to fly when his family migrates in the autumn to warmer climes.

Written by Fridrik Erlingsson, it will be directed by Árni Ólafur Ásgeirsson (Undercurrent) and GunHil’s own Gunnar Karlsson who also is a visual director on the film.

Hilmar Sigurdsson and Haukur Sigurjonsson will be producing on behalf of GunHil, and shooting is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2014.

Ploe – You Never Fly Alone was one of 56 projects presented at this year’s Cartoon Movie co-production forum in France’s Lyon where the co-pro deal was signed with Trixter and world sales agreement with ARRI Worldsales. The deals “mark a major milestone towards completion of financing“, according to GunHil.

Speaking about the screenplay for Ploe, Moritz Hemminger, director of sales and acquisitions, said: “It has everything you’re looking for in a family feature animation. The outsider, who becomes a hero with the help of his friends, very touching and adventurous story!”

ARRI plans to start pre-sales on the film at Cannes Film Festival’s Marché du Film in May.

Meanwhile, the new alliance’s two partners say that they are already receiving “great interest” from distributors and potential co-producers in the animation sector.