About this project
*** FIRST JUST WANT TO THANK ALL OUR AMAZING SUPPORTERS OUT THERE--THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE OF YOU!!
Help Us Make the Animated Short / Proof of Concept to Get the Greenlight for this Animated Feature Film...
**UPDATE - We've been getting a lot of great feedback, and wanted to share with you that there has been some confusion about just what a TEASER / PROOF OF CONCEPT IS. So we'd love to add a little clarity:
In the world of animation, coming up with a unique "look'" or vision for the animation is the most important thing of all. People may love your script, but they want to know what the characters look like...what is the "world" they inhabit? How do the characters talk and move? When our director, Daniel Jeannette, was working on "Happy Feet" similar questions came up. So the Directing Team went off and made an animated Teaser/Proof of Concept of a baby penguin dancing on an iceberg. Executives swooned. An Oscar was Awarded....the rest is history. (And the Teaser / Proof of Concept went on to become the first Sneak Peak Teaser released by the Studio.) We're following in the same model. We have a great script. We have some distributors that are interested....we just need to create an animated short...or in the parlance of the industry a "Teaser/Proof of Concept" so they can see the beautiful vision of street-dancing hip hop squirrels that we do. In a sense, the most important work that will happen on the film is here...because here is where we are developing the aesthetic...the look of the characters...the overall design. We hope you join us in being a part of the Origin Story and Originating Vision of "Central Park Tale."
Central Park Tale is a fresh twist on West Side Story. This timeless story of star-crossed lovers will be set against the backdrop of a squirrel turf battle in New York City’s Central Park. Featuring rollicking dance numbers and the voices and songs of top urban and hip hop artists, Central Park Tale offers a hip, contemporary take on a classic story that will appeal to children and adults alike.
Central Park Tale will be directed by Daniel Jeannette, one of Hollywood’s top animation directors whose credits include Happy Feet, Hunger Games and Where the Wild Things Are.
Jamal Sims (Step Up 1-4, Hairspray, Footloose), one of LA’s hottest choreographers, is also on board. Jamal is on the cutting edge of hip hop and has worked with some of the best in the biz including Usher, P. Diddy, J-Lo, Madonna and more.
Paris-based Mikros Image, a leading global animation and VFX house, has come on board to produce the animation. These guys are wildly talented and won an Oscar® in 2010 for their animated short film Logorama. You can check them out here: http://www.mikrosimage.eu/english/
Now we are seeking funds to create a teaser trailer/proof of concept. This will serve as a necessary tool to get the green-light for our CGI animated feature. You in? Cause we sure are! Join us in making this first-of-its-kind hip hop animated feature!
A STORY INSPIRED BY REAL LIFE EVENTS...
In 2006 Peter Cooper Village, the last bastion of middle-income housing in NYC, was sold by Met Life for a whopping $5.4 billion--one of the largest real estate transactions in the history of the U.S. Not only were innocent families displaced, but in our story a small community of Black squirrels (who in reality do inhabit Peter Cooper Village) suddenly find themselves homeless. With winter approaching and their food supply decimated, the Black squirrels must find new digs, and fast! They migrate to Central Park, only to discover hostile natives, Grey squirrels, who jealously defend their turf. Mistrust and fear quickly escalate into a parkland feud—which plays out in the classic hip hop battle arena of song and dance.
HIP HOP DANCE
Dance---and specifically hip hop street battles---is a vital component to the story. We will be working with world-class choreographer Jamal Sims who will be hand-picking some of the best and brightest hip hop dancers on the global stage today. From lockers and poppers to trickers and gymnasts, Jamal will recruit cutting-edge talent that will showcase the latest hip hop dance moves and B-boy stylings. The dancers' movements will be recorded and used as a visual reference to animate the squirrel characters.
SOUNDTRACK & VOICES
The music that will be featured in Central Park Tale will include songs by leading urban/hip hop artists. The soundtrack will be danceable, mainstream, and highly accessible to a diverse audience. In addition to A-list Hollywood actors, we expect to cast leading hip hop artists as voice talent for the main characters.
Daniel Jeannette was the Visual Effects Animation Supervisor for Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games. He served as Visual Effects Supervisor and Animation Director for Warner Bros. and Director Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are, based on the picture book by Maurice Sendak. Jeannette was also the Animation Director for the Oscar® Award winning film Happy Feet, working closely with Director George Miller and leading Animal Logic’s team of 60 animators and 30 motion capture artists through the animation process. Prior to joining Happy Feet, Jeannette spent 10 years with Industrial Light & Magic’s animation team--the last seven of those as Animation Director forVan Helsing, Gangs of New York, Mighty Joe Young, The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.
Jamal Sims most recently worked with Producer Adam Shankman on Step Up Revolution as well as the Emmy-nominated 82nd Academy Awards, which Shankman also produced. Among Jamal’s other choreography credits are the Miley Cyrus Wonderworld Tour (which he also directed), Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Footloose, So You Think You Can Dance, Big Mama’s House: Like Father, Like Son (Martin Lawrence), Hairspray (John Travolta), Hannah Montana the Movie (Miley Cyrus), 17 Again (Zac Efron), Soul Men (Bernie Mac, Samuel L. Jackson), Beauty Shop, Vanilla Sky and Garfield. Sims is known for his creativity in numerous commercials such as for Target and Volkswagen as well as music videos and stage shows for Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Usher, P. Diddy, Spice Girls, Outkast and Gloria Estefan.
THE ANIMATION STUDIO
Mikros Image is widely considered to be one of the top VFX shops in Europe. In 2010 they won an Oscar® for their short film, Logoroma and they have won piles of awards including two Visual Effects Society Awards, five French Cesar Awards, dozens of Clios, Golden Lions, D&AD Yellow Pencils…and most recently, they created the visual effects for Michael Haneke’s 2012 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Love. With an eye towards global domination, Mikros has opened five more offices around the world, including the US, Montreal, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. This year, Mikros will be producing one of France’s most treasured literary properties as a full-length CGI animated feature. As a consequence, they are now building a state-of-the-art, brand-spankin’ new animation studio right in the heart of Paris.
Bios for the team can be found here:
Daniel Jeannette - Director
Jacqui Barcos - Writer & Producer
Rita Cahill - Executive Producer
Jamal Sims - Choreographer
Gilles Gaillard - Managing Director of Mikros Image
Julien Meesters - Head of VFX & Animation at Mikros Image
Arnauld Boulard - Consulting Producer
Warren Franklin - Consulting Producer
Frankly—because we want to preserve the original vision of this story. So our project’s a little edgy. It takes on hip hop, street battles, urban design, graffiti...we want it to be more than just for five-year-olds. We want to make the kind of animated movie you’d want to see and that we’d want to see. In the tradition of Ratatouille and Toy Story 3 we feel that animation has grown up enough to tackle complex themes, sometimes dark, a little edgy…but full of love and hope. So we decided to go rogue and bust a teaser out indie style. As they say, “build it and they will come.” And we’re pretty sure once investors and distributors catch a glimpse of what our team is capable of….well, the sky’s the limit!
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
If we successfully reach our fundraising goal, we will “kickstart” production on the teaser in October at the Mikros studios in Paris. We estimate 4-5 months before completion.
Once the teaser is finished, we will show it to U.S. and international distributors and investors who have already expressed interest. If all goes well, we will dazzle them with the super-awesomeness of our high-octane, Kickstarter-injected teaser, snag the blessed green-light and begin pre-production on the full feature by early next year. Yeah!!!
WHERE'S THE MONEY GOING?
Right up on screen! We are currently asking for $40K which is the bare bones minimum to get the teaser done. Mikros is donating in-kind services and their facility to produce the teaser--which is frickin’ amazing!! Now we just need to take care of outside costs such as hiring a brilliant concept designer to help create the look of the animated characters (designers at the top of their game command hefty fees). And of course there’s Jamal and his crew of dancers, the music licensing, equipment rentals, craft services, production insurance...the list goes on.
Most importantly, the more funds we raise the more we can trick out this teaser and make it super badass!! We’re talking spectacular hip hop battles, crazy gravity-defying tricks, and then laying it on thick with even more characters and super enhanced details. And if we raise more than $100K, we’ll be able to expand from a 30-second teaser to a full minute and half!! (Yup, animation is that expensive—and by A-list Hollywood standards, we’re doing this on a shoestring!)
WHAT YOU ARE GETTING...
You mean, besides our love and gratitude? Well…we got a whole treasure trove of sugarplums and tantalizing incentives to entice you. And stay tuned as we may be adding fresh new incentives throughout the campaign.
** Please note that all Rewards are related to the production of the Teaser Trailer / Proof of Concept. Estimated delivery time for Digital Teaser is March 2013. All other rewards will be sent as they become available.
Thank you for your support!! We hope you join us for the ride...and please help us by spreading the word.
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