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Usman Riaz’s Annecy selection “The Glassworker” has unveiled its first trailer. The film will also screen at the Cannes Film Market and has set a date for theatrical release in Pakistan.

The animated film will debut in Annecy’s Contrechamp strand. Targeting family audiences, the film is set in a location loosely inspired by Pakistan, telling the story of young Vincent and his father Tomas, who run the finest glass workshop in the country and find their lives upended by an approaching war in which they want no part. The arrival in their town of an army colonel and his young talented, violinist daughter, Alliz, shakes their reality and tests the relationship between father and son.

The voice cast includes Art Malik (“Man Like Mobeen”), Sacha Dhawan (“Wolf”), Anjli Mohindra (“The Lazarus Project”) and Tony Jayawardena (“Ackley Bridge”). It is produced by Riaz’s Pakistan-based Mano Animation Studios and is the first hand-drawn animated feature from the country, and global production outfit Awedacious Originals, led by “Delhi Crime” producer Apoorva Bakshi.

Producers include Manuel Cristobal (“Wrinkles”) and Khizer Riaz, with Bakshi serving as an executive producer.

Charades is handling international sales and will screen “The Glassworker” to buyers at the Cannes Market on May 14 and 15. Mandviwala Entertainment will release the film in Pakistan on July 26.

Usman Riaz said: “I started this journey 10 years ago in 2014. No one believed it was possible. To have the film premiere at Annecy 2024 alongside some of the best-animated films in the world is a feeling I cannot really describe. I am overjoyed and in awe. No one had ever attempted to make a hand-drawn animated film in Pakistan for a very good reason – it’s impossible. We have all worked extremely hard to make this possible, I am grateful to the Annecy team for believing in ‘The Glassworker,’ not just as a film, but for what it represents, which is the power of perseverance.”

Khizer Riaz added: “We have created a studio alongside a film in Pakistan through grit and passion for the craft. What started as an idea by Usman has snowballed into a full-fledged studio and hopefully the beginning of a new name in the animation industry. To be acknowledged by the international animation industry is a dream come true. We hope to continue telling original South Asian stories with Mano’s unique perspective for years to come.”

Bakshi said: “’The Glassworker’ is a testament to the boundless creativity and dedication inherent in the hand-drawn craft of Japanese-style animation. Usman’s tireless commitment and storytelling prowess transcend mere regionalism, illustrating that this art form is an emotion unto itself. Rooted in an understanding of the complexities of war, its genesis sparks a universal call to action for peace. The film’s technical brilliance is matched by its profound emotional core. We trust that audiences worldwide will resonate with its powerful message.”

Watch the trailer here:

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