Athena Studios, an Emeryville, Calif.-based company specializing in production services for film and multimedia clients, has obtained the feature film rights to the children’s Christmas book Auntie Claus by author Elise Primavera. The studio is actively involved in preproduction on a 90-minute, stop-motion animated motion picture based on Auntie Claus.
Several animation industry figures have already committed to the production, including Pete Kozachik, (Coraline, The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas), Tom Proost, (Coraline, Galaxy Quest, Star Wars: Episode II), Brice Parker, (Jurassic Park, The Matrix) and Tim Taylor, (Coraline, Frankenweenie, Con Air).
“Auntie Claus has been a favorite of my family for years,” said Jon Peters, CEO/founder, Athena Studios. “It has a very appealing story and a strong message. We reached out to Elise Primavera, and were fortunate enough to negotiate a solid deal with her for the film rights.”
“We chose stop-motion as the format for this new, upcoming film because it has a fantastic look and feel that we knew would be perfect for telling this story,” Parker said. “It can also be extremely cost-effective to produce stop-motion when it’s managed properly, and the box office returns of a four-quadrant Christmas film are indisputable. We think Auntie Claus is ideally suited to perform to those expectations.”
Athena Studios has already begun a treatment for the book as well as development on character design and animation tests. Studio executives are currently interviewing potential directors for the film, as well as developing a package for funding and distribution.
“Auntie Claus was first conceived in the mid ’90s, while I was living in New York City,” Primavera said. “From the moment I first had the idea for the book, I thought it would make a wonderful holiday movie. I think this is the medium that Auntie Claus was always meant for.”