Seattle-based production studio World Famous recently partnered with Make-A-Wish to grant an unprecedented wish for six-year-old Alexis, who recently battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Alexis wanted to create a cartoon that would tell her own story in a way her friends could understand and bring awareness to pediatric cancer.
The World Famous team rallied together to bring Alexis’s story to life. The resulting three-minute film, Alexis’s Wish, is a powerful yet whimsical fairy tale starring Princess Alexis as herself battling the dragon “Kemia” with the help of her family and friends.
“We really wanted Alexis’s involvement at every stage of the process – from story to design to even having her come in for a VO session to play herself,” said World Famous executive creative director Daniel Brown. “It’s her story, so we really wanted her to inspire everything that happens in the film.”
“Alexis got really into the creative process and kept surprising us with smart design choices that were right for the story throughout,” explained World Famous art director and character designer Juan Carlos Arenas. “For instance, we knew how much she loved bunnies, so we went over the top with them in one scene.”
“Juan created some lovely designs and backgrounds. It’s almost like a storybook in some ways,” explained Brown. “We wanted to be true to his initial drawings, so we focused on using traditional methods but in digital environments, so everything was pencil tested and then finished in Photoshop and After Effects.”
Although Alexis conceived the premise of the film and provided input on the main characters and general aesthetic choices, the element of surprise was the cornerstone of this unique filmmaking project, which would culminate on the big screen when she saw the finished piece for the first time.
Actress Jamie Chung (Big Hero 6 and Once Upon A Time) donated her time to provide voice-over for the film. Jason Staczek of Madrona Music wrote and produced the original orchestral score.
Alexis’s Wish premiere on Oct. 24 at the Cinerama in Seattle. The evening kicked off with a red carpet event highlighted by paparazzi and special appearances by Jamie Chung and former Seattle Sounders FC player Roger Levesque, who arrived at the soirée as “Prince Charming.”
World Famous donated its time and resources primarily after-hours to complete the film. The hard costs were funded by the Seattle Sounders FC, Alexis’s official wish sponsor. The film will be available on the Make-A-Wish website.
“In our chapter’s 30-year history, we have never had a wish quite like Alexis’,” said Barry McConnell, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. “We are so proud to partner with World Famous to bring her ideas to life and to grant a wish that has the potential to touch so many other children living with cancer in our community and beyond.”