I know I usually just talk about me and promote events in my life, but I thought it would be nice to stop staring in the mirror for awhile and talk about someone else for a while.
An old friend of mine, Phil Nibbelink, has done something most of us in the animation industry only dream about: making a feature film single handed! Can you imagine making a 78 minute film all on your own? I can't even fathom it.
The name of his film is Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss. It's a retelling of the classic Shakespeare play using seals in an underwater setting. Not only has he completed this amazing feat, but it's being released Oct 27th! I know Bill Plymton (and probably others) have done this before, but I suspect that this might be the first time it is a more typical family film and not an 'art' film.
I met Phil way back when while I was at Disney's during the Black Cauldron (boy, is that ancient history) when he shared an office with Andreas Deja. He is mostly responsible for the great Gwythaint chase in that movie. That sequence still stands heads and shoulders above most animated action sequences in my opinion. I consider him not only a friend but to be one of the animators that have had an influence on my own growth as an animator. Unfortunately I don't have much call for animating these days, but I'm glad he's figured out how to keep doing what he loves.
He animated it all on Flash and painted the backgrounds with Painter and from what I can tell from the trailer it doesn't look like typical flash, but looks like normal 2D. He recorded the dialogue in his basement studio using himself, his children and friends for the voices. Hmmm...He never called me for a voice..oh, wait...I can't act...maybe that's why.
He drew around 112,000 drawings (mostly on ones) using a graphics tablet - except for when he used a program called Moho for some limited shots and crowd scenes.
I've known many animators over the years who have dreamed of doing this and some have even started the process, but I don't know many that have actually been able to see it through to the end and then manage to get it released to theaters.
I don't know about any of you, but I'm going to go to a theater and support this with the hope that this could happen again.
If you're so inclined also here's a list of theaters that it's going to play in.
And here's the web-site for the film for more info and a trailer.