Wild Bunch has picked up international distribution for Hayo Freitag's The Three Robbers (Die Drei Raeuber), the first animation feature by Animation X, the animation arm of the Berlin production house X-Filme creative pool and David Groenewold's Promedium.

Based on Tomi Unguerer's 1961 classic about three robbers who walk the roads in the dark of the night, hidden under large black capes and tall black hats, The Three Robbers will be released by X Verleih in German cinemas on Oct 18 after having its world premiere at last month's Filmfest Hamburg where it won the Children's Filmfest Audience Prize.

'We have succeeded in creating a real film for children without any kind of scenes that would frighten them,' says producer Stephan Schesch. 'And it is also a film which will be great fun for the adults. Moreover, the film has its own very particular visual style which is inspired by Tomi Ungerer and is really unmistakeable.'

During production on The Three Robbers, Animation X had concluded a pre-sale for France with Wild Bunch's video arm Wild Side Video and the theatrical distributor Gebeka Films, which has a successful track record in handling animation titles such as Kirikou Et La Sorciere, La Freccia Azzurra, and The Little Polar Bear.