An enthusiastic audience was able to preview Skydance Animation’s first feature film, “Luck”, presented on Tuesday in the Work in Progress section of the Annecy International Animation Festival.
The panel included film director Peggy Holmes (“The Little Mermaid: The Beginning of Ariel,” “The Pirate Fairy”), screenwriter Kiel Murray (“Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “Ratatouille,” ), producer David Eisenmann (“Pearl,” “Son of Jaguar”), animation director Yuriko Senoo (“Tangled,” “The Pirate Fairy”) and VFX supervisor Javier Romero (“Wonder Park,” “ Planet 51″).
“Luck” tells the story of Sam Greenfield, probably the unluckiest girl in the world, who one day finds a lucky penny.
She decides she wants to give the penny to her best friend Hazel, but her bad luck causes her to lose the coin. Sam sets out to find a new one, and in her quest she crosses paths with Bob, a lucky black cat, who inadvertently leads her to Lucky Land.
Much of the comedic quality of the film lies in Sam’s bad luck physicality. Senoo explained how the team looked to Lucile Ball, Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton for inspiration to create authentic characters and understand the style they were looking for.
“[These] great comedians, amazing storytellers make us laugh without saying a word, just with their faces and bodies, they can pull off amazing stunts but they also know when to take a break for comedy. That’s why their timing is so rhythmic. We were drawn to deadpan comedy – that’s the concept of less is more,” she said, noting how this concept was the red line throughout filming.
“Rhythm is so important in this film, especially in the land of luck: everything had to be perfect, easy, carefree and synchronized: it required a strong collaboration between the different departments: from the storyboard to the layout and the ‘animation,” Senoo said. Varietyadding that Holmes’ background as a choreographer was a huge plus.
During the presentation, Holmes also showed several split-screen clips of herself and her teenagers dancing alongside the characters, as well as a vintage 1985 video from a commercial she shared. choreographed with Lionel Ritchie, which drew laughter and cheers from the Annecy crowd. .
Much research has also focused on the very concept of good and bad luck, the team explained.
“Bad luck situations need to be real bad luck, not caused by clumsiness. This meant digging into luck itself – whether it’s good or bad, it’s not something we can control, it’s is something that is really random,” Murray explained.
Clips shown during the Work-in-Progress screening illustrate this combination of random but perfectly timed luck and bad luck – including a beautifully choreographed breakfast scene where Sam’s toast always falls on the side of jam before he she can’t find the lucky penny, and flatly refuses to do so once she has it in her hand.
The film is voiced by a host of A-list celebrities, including Jane Fonda as Babe the Dragon, CEO of Land of Luck, Whoopi Goldberg as head of security, Broadway celebrity Eva Noblezada (“Hadestown” ) as Sam and Simon. Pegg (“Star Trek”) as Bob the Cat.
Lil Rel Howery (“Free Guy,” “Get Out”) voices Sam’s boss Adelynn Spoon (“Watchmen”) Hazel and German actor and comedian Flula Borg (“Pitch Perfect 2,” TV series “The Boss Baby “) the character of Jeff the Unicorn.
In another split-screen clip shown during the presentation, Holmes and Murray are seen training a hilarious Borg during a remote recording session: Just weeks after the film’s debut, the COVID-19 lockdown hit . But production was able to continue, Holmes said. Variety.
“I worked on the film for about three weeks and then we were sent home. We did everything we could to retain what we believe makes the best of films: collaboration. Let the artists all when I say the story room, it’s the Zoom room: we would sit there and have meetings like that,” she said, explaining that the team would share ideas and drawings. via Zoom and email.”There are people in my crew that I haven’t met in person,” she added.
Produced by Eisenmann, John Lasseter, Skydance Animation CEO David Ellison and Skydance CCO Dana Goldberg, the film is nearing completion – said Holmes: ‘We’re just doing the final color timing’ – and is set for release in the US August 5.
Founded in 2017, Skydance Animation is the animation branch of Skydance Media (“Mission Impossible”, “Jack Reacher”, “Top Gun: Maverick”). His first short film, “Blush”, can be viewed on Apple TV Plus.
Credit: Annecy Festival
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