As part of an unprecedented batch of new animation studios popping up, Athena Studios has been busy establishing itself as a rising talent in stop-motion filmmaking, a field previously dominated by the likes of Aardman and, recently, LAIKA.
One of the projects that they currently have in development is Auntie Claus. Based on the first book in a best-selling series of Christmas-based novels by Elise Primavera, the full-length, stop-motion musical feature centers around Sophie, a little girl who discovers that her aunt is Santa Claus’ manager in the North Pole.
We learned about this project in further detail when our own Whitney Grace first interviewed Athena back in September. Now, we bring news of a new name being added to their talented production crew.
Animation World News has recently reported that Nate Hopper has signed on as co-producer on Auntie Claus. The announcement was made by Jon V. Peters, founder and CEO of Athena Studios.
Hopper previously served as Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs (SVP) at Sony Pictures Animation, where he played an integral part in building up the studio.
Speaking about the film, Elise Primavera states here: “Since the moment that I conceived of Auntie Claus’ I hoped the book would be adapted into an animated musical.” She continues to praise Athena Studios by saying: “The talented people at Athena Studios share this vision and I couldn’t be happier to hear that Nate Hopper, former SVP of Creative for Sony Pictures Animation, will now be co-producer on the film.”
Also speaking on the project, Nate Hopper states that: “The Auntie Claus character is something truly fun and different.” He continues by saying: “I also think the time is right for a great female-centric film about Christmas. The film is quite unique in its vision, and the use of stop-motion animation harkens back to the wonderful Rankin/Bass holiday classics we all remember fondly from our childhoods.”
Finally, Jon V. Peters praises Nate’s addition, saying: “Nate is a tremendous addition to the Auntie Claus team. His experience in building out Sony Pictures Animation, and his proven track record in developing stories that connect with the hearts of audiences, are invaluable assets to us, as we move forward in the creation of Athena as a new, independent animation studio.”
Auntie Claus is expected sometime during the 2016 Christmas holiday.
For more information on Auntie Claus as well as more background info on the team at Athena Studios, you can listen to their first interview on the Animation Interviews podcast here. For more info on their other project, Mermaids on Mars, listen to their second interview here.
What do you think? What are your thoughts on the talent being gathered? Are you looking forward to the film itself?