Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow
"Smurfs: The Legend Of Smurfy Hollow" 22 min. SONY PICTURES ANIMATION (Annie Award nomination for Best Directing in a TV Program).
Having grown up with the original Peyo comics, I was extremely excited to direct this film and not only give the Smurfs' original designs their due in 2D animation, but also to try to capture what I felt was the very essence of the Smurfs: Even after things get out of hand, they are always there for eachother. Leave no Smurfs behind.
A key esthetic idea in my approach to Smurfy Hollow, was to combine a very traditional "Freddy Moore/Frank Thomas" type of animation with abstract-adjacent "Mary Blair-type" Background, and engage them with a modern sense of point of view from the camera. Whether it's chasing after the characters or engaging them in a close up, I tortured a bunch of very talented animators to make sure they "baked in" a lens in their drawing. So while the presentation is as radically different as it can possibly be bertween the CG and 2D segments, the film language approach remains consistant.
We had a wonderful cast on this film, which included the insanely talented Alan Cumming playing Gutsy, Fred Armisen playing Brainy, Hank Azaria as Gargamel, and yes, John Oliver! On a different note, I am still heartbroken that we lost Anton Yelchin (who played Clumsy).
On a film like this, which has to be suitable for a very young audience, it is a fun challenge to build a fun sense of mystery and to service very primal stakes without breaking tone.
I can't stress enough how happy I am that Sony let us get so bold and abstract with the environment. Production design courtesy of the great Sean Eckols.
Doing the comic book conventions, I've also got to experience first-hand how much our storytelling work means to the fans, so I couldn't have been happier with the response this film received from the fans.
And OK, yes. The regular reviews came in great too. Read Huff Po review here.