Emeryville, Calif.-based Athena Studios is currently in production on a new stop-motion animated short film entitled Mermaids on Mars.
Mermaids on Mars came to Athena Studios from children’s book author Nancy Guettier, who is producing the film. Guettier wrote the book that the film is loosely based on in 2012, dedicated to her three adopted children. Guettier also wrote the five songs that are featured in the short.
Mermaids on Mars centers around a young boy named Julian who takes a fantastic adventure to Mars. There, he discovers that the last surviving mermaids in the universe are living in a small body of water on that planet.
Athena Studios is doing all of the production work and animation on the film. The studio also helped to adapt the original full-length screenplay by Guettier and Jarrett Galante into a short film format.
To bring the story to life, Athena has assembled a crew comprised of a number of stop-motion animation and feature film luminaries, including Athena producer Kat Alioshin (Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride,); director of photography Pete Kozachik (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, Corpse Bride, Ghostbusters 2, Nightmare Before Christmas,); cinematographer Timothy Taylor (Back to the Future 2, Frankenweenie, Coraline,); art director Tom Proost (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, A.I. , James and the Giant Peach, The Matrix 2 and 3,), and puppet fabricator Victoria Rose Zalewski (Coraline, Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.)
Guettier was looking for a production company with which to collaborate in translating her book into film. She discovered that Athena is currently in production on a stop-motion animated feature film Auntie Claus. Guettier worked with Jon Peters, company founder and director of the film, to shorten the story to a fanciful 20-minute piece that combines stop motion, live action and music to bring the story to life.
Mermaids on Mars will be released in January to film festivals.