StudioCanal is financing and producing a new CGI dinosaur adventure film, The Dinosaur Project (working title).

The film marks the directorial debut feature from CGI experts Sid Bennett and Tom Pridham, who recently formed their own production company Kent Films.

StudioCanal is handling world sales and will launch the project here at the EFM.

The project is described as “Jurassic Park meets Blair Witch in the style of District 9.” But producer Nick Hill also notes: “It’s not grainy, grainy hand-held, it will look beautiful and crisp and clear.”

The story is about a father-son expedition in the Congo, being followed by a TV documentary crew. After all the parties mysteriously go missing, recovered footage shows stunning images of dinosaurs thought to be extinct for 65 million years.

Hill, who is producing the Kent Films project, said, “With StudioCanal, Optimum Releasing and two of the most talented, young filmmakers that I have ever met we will bring this story from the depths of the Congo jungle to audiences around the world.”

“It’s a real thrill ride,” he told Screen. The creatures will be “a mix of dinosaurs we know and love and some we’ve never seen before.”

“They are not extinct. They are real and I am genuinely terrified of what is going on down there. I realise dinosaurs are hugely popular and people are going to make a lot of money on this. But maybe this is going too far. I wish we had nothing to do with this project. God have mercy on us,” added Harold van Lier [pictured], Head of International Sales at StudioCanal.

Jenny Borgars and Danny Perkins, of StudioCanal’s UK outfit Optimum Releasing, will executive produce. Optimum will also distribute in the UK.

The film will start its six-week shoot during the second week of May in South Africa. South Africa-based Moonlighting is expected to co-produce.

The project is casting now, with UK actors expected to take the three lead roles.

The Mill will do post-production and create the dinosaurs and the project could be ready for delivery by the end of the year.

Bennett has worked on projects include Prehistoric Park, Predator X, and Mermaids. Pridham has worked on Oceans Odyssey, Prehistoric Park and Primeval