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BloodSpell Animation Web Series Spawns Feature Film

In 2006, Web animation viewers watched as beautiful swordswomen battled on a pyrotechnic chessboard. A gladiator with a steam-powered arm fled an army of wraiths. A sorcerer and an angel fought atop a cliff overlooking a fantasy city.

This was BLOODSPELL, the animated epic released online last year and downloaded by more than 100,000 visitors worldwide. Now, the "punk fantasy" has spawned an 84-minute feature film.

"BLOODSPELL was conceived as a feature film," says Hugh Hancock, BLOODSPELL'S executive producer and author of MACHINIMA FOR DUMMIES. "We talked to conventional filmmakers who told us it would cost 3 million [British pounds] to make. I couldn't fund it myself and wasn't likely to get that sort of funding for my first feature film, so I decided to make it another way."

Hancock and his team labored for three years producing BLOODSPELL as a 15-episode series released every two weeks during 2006, creating the visuals by adapting computer game NEVERWINTER NIGHTS, supported by the developers.

They worked unpaid, with a 6,000 GBP budget, supported by consultancy work.

But the result was worth it -- coverage on the BBC, THE GUARDIAN and USA TODAY, and praise from influential media figures -- persuading Hancock to return to his original vision: BLOODSPELL, the feature film.

"We re-shot the opening scenes of the series to take advantage of our experience," explained Hancock. "We recorded new voice, re-edited the entire film, crafted a new soundtrack. It was a lot of work!"

More than 3,000 copies of the feature film were downloaded within 24 hours of release on Oct. 21st.

"It's a triumph of guerrilla cinematography, " said Charles Stross, Hugo award-winning writer and futurist. "If Marvel and DC Comics aren't feeling the chill wind down the back of their neck, they're asleep at the switch."

BLOODSPELL can be download at