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Axis Rises in 2002

Axis, the first Europe-developed computer-generated movie, will premiere in the United States in 2002, followed shortly thereafter by its European and Japanese releases. A short demo version of the 85-minute CGI film will debut at the 28th Annual International Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH), being held Aug. 12-17 in Los Angeles. Axis is the story of a spirited teenager named Kaena (voice by Kirsten Dunst) who leaves the safety of her tree village, which sits in a towering tree, called Axis, that rises 100 miles above her planet's surface, and embarks on a journey to discover why the tree's sap is disappearing. Against the wishes of her town, she passes through the cloud barrier and travels down to the tree's roots, where she meets up with the Selenites, an alien race that has enslaved a species in an effort to stop the tree from dying. Richard Harris provides the voice of Opaz, an elderly sage; Anjelica Huston plays the evil Queen of the Selenites; Keith David is the second-in-command of the Selenites; and Greg Proops and Michael McShane will provide comic relief as "the worms." The film is targeting the video game crowd, ages 12 and older, rather than the traditional animated crowd. The film is expected to earn a PG rating.