Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 21, 2012.

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From the Animation Director of "Happy Feet" and the Choreographer of "Step Up" 1-4 comes a rollicking new hip hop animated film.

*** 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."

THE STORY

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. 

THE TALENT

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/ 

THE GOAL

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. 

THE DIRECTOR

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 HelsingGangs of New YorkMighty Joe YoungThe Mummy and The Mummy Returns

THE CHOREOGRAPHER

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.

THE TEAM

Bios for the team can be found here:  

http://centralparktale.mikrosimage.eu/the-team/

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

WHY KICKSTARTER?

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.

FAQ

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    38 backers

    Our deepest gratitude + a thank you credit on the “Central Park Tale” website.

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    All of the above + a digital thank you post card sent electronically to you.

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    NEW REWARD! All of the above + a fun pack of Hip Hop/Urban temporary tattoos--created by the Central Park Tale design team. (Note: This reward is unique to this tier level and is not included in any other tier level.)

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    NEW REWARD! - A custom-made silicone wrist band with the Central Park Tale Logo. Also includes digital post card + thank you credit. (Note: This reward is unique to this tier level and is not included in any other tier level.)

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    All of the above + a digital copy of our finished Kickstarter project: the Teaser Trailer / Proof of Concept (necessary to obtain the greenlight for our animated feature film).

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    Fan pack: all of the above + access to our behind-the-scenes production blog for the Teaser Trailer which includes frequently updated video clips and works-in-progress. Watch the project unfold and develop into a CGI Animated Teaser!

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    All of the above + Central Park Tale baseball cap with logo on the brim. One size fits all. (International shipping costs not included.)

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    Reward perks from $25 level + VIP access as a contributor to our webpage, where you can view behind the scenes content throughout development of the Teaser, offer suggestions, and even vote on character design. Help shape this amazing film!

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    Reward perks from $60 level + high rez digital copy of Central Park Tale storyboards for the Teaser Trailer. Choose from 1 of 5 sets!

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    Reward perks from $60 level + a high rez digital copy of an original character design from the Teaser Trailer. You can choose from one of several beautifully rendered characters in black and white or sepia.

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    Reward perks from $60 level + a limited edition Central Park Tale Teaser poster, signed by Daniel Jeannette. (International shipping costs not included.)

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    Platinum Fan Pack: receive a high rez digital copy of the storyboards + character designs + concept art, in full color and beautifully illustrated by the Central Park Tale design team. Also includes limited edition poster + rewards at the $60 level!

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    Choose from 1 of 5 limited edition prints of the Central Park Tale Teaser Trailer storyboards, signed by Daniel Jeannette. Printed on special museum-quality, neutral pH archival 11in x 17in paper. Suitable for framing. A Collector’s Item! *** Reward tier also includes digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Choose from 1 of 5 limited edition prints of Central Park Tale Teaser Trailer character sketches, signed by Daniel Jeannette. Printed on special museum-quality, neutral pH archival 11in X 17in paper. Suitable for framing. A Collector’s Item! *** Reward tier also includes digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Choose from 1 of 3 limited edition prints of Central Park Tale Teaser Trailer concept art, in full color and beautifully illustrated by the Central Park Tale design team. Signed by Daniel Jeannette. Printed on special museum-quality, neutral pH archival 11in x 17in paper. Suitable for framing. A Collector’s Item! *** Reward tier also includes digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Have your animation project critiqued by Daniel Jeannette or Julian Meester, head of VFX and animation for Mikros. Receive positive and constructive feedback on your work-in progress. (Animation only, no scripts!) Great for students and emerging animators!! *** Reward tier also includes digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Attend a one-of-kind Animation Voice-Over workshop with some of the top Animation Creators in the field! This workshop will be conducted in the private studio of LA's premier voice-over artist and instructor, MJ Lallo, who co-wrote the best-selling textbook "Voice-Over for Animation." Special guest lecturers will include our director, Daniel Jeannette as well as the Head of Story for one of Hollywood's top animation studios. Learn first-hand insider tips by industry veterans. Every attendee will get an opportunity to read copy and receive direction in the VO Booth! This three-hour Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, November 10th. A rare opportunity for established and emerging VO talent!!! (Travel and Accommodations not included.)

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    A 30 minute one-on-one phone consultation with director Daniel Jeannette, or writer/producer Jacqui Barcos, or Gilles Gaillard the Managing Director of Mikros. Receive seasoned advice about the industry, your project—or how to break into the exciting world of animation. *** Reward tier also includes digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Drop in for 3 hours and observe the live action shoot in Los Angeles, where Jamal Sims and his amazing crew of dancers will perform gravity-defying, off-the-hook dance battles. A rare chance to glimpse A-list hip hop talent in action as we record their movements for the Animation team. (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    VIP access to the live-action shoot in Los Angeles, where Jamal Sims and his amazing crew of dancers will perform gravity-defying, off-the-hook dance battles. Spend all day observing A-list hip hop talent in action. And join us for the cast and crew specially catered lunch! (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Spend the day at Mikros in Paris shadowing Director Daniel Jeannette and be credited as his assistant on the website. Great for students and emerging animators!! (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Spend the day on set in Los Angeles shadowing Director Daniel Jeannette for the live-action dance shoot and be credited as his assistant on the website. Great for students and emerging animators!! (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Bring a guest and come to Los Angeles to share a meal with Jacqui, Daniel and Executive Producer Rita Cahill. You pick the cuisine, they’ll take care of the rest. (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Submit a photo (of a person, pet or thing) and the Central Park Tale design team will create a custom illustration just for you! *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Poster + digital copy of final Teaser + VIP access to production blog.

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    Jacqui and Daniel will fly out to your school or place of business and give an in-house presentation on Central Park Tale or a subject of your choosing. (Jacqui and Daniel’s travel and accommodations not included if outside the U.S.)

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    Come to Paris and get a VIP tour of the Mikros studios while we are in production on the Teaser Trailer. Enjoy lunch at a top Parisian restaurant with the director and producers. After spending the day with Central Park Tale artists in full-tilt production mode, kick back and enjoy a magical evening of early evening cocktails with Daniel and the Producing Team. (Travel and accommodations not included.) *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + signed original concept art + VIP access to production blog.

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    Angel Patron: our eternal gratitude + special thanks credit on a title card at the end of the Teaser. *** Reward tier also includes Central Park Tale Baseball cap + Poster + signed original concept art + VIP access to production blog.

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Funding period

- (30 days)