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Sean Connery Seeks £3 Million For Animated Feature

Sir Sean Conners Billi Prods. Ltd. and Glasgow Animation are looking to raise £3 million to take their animated CGI short film property SIR BILLI to full length feature.

The company, owned jointly by Scottish entrepreneurs husband and wife team Sascha and Tessa Hartmann and Connery, have been working on a short film for some three years, with an impressive A list cast. With Connery, having come out of retirement to play a major part in the business and production, the film also boasts Tony award-winner Alan Cumming co-starring and a musical score by Oscar-nominated composer and fellow Scot Patrick Doyle. Golden Globe-winner Doyle, who recently completed the score for HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE also, lends his voice as a key character in the storyline. Other voiceovers are provided by high profile actors such as Miriam Margolyes (HARRY POTTER, ROMEO & JULIET), Richard Briers (MONARCH OF THE GLEN, PETER PAN), Ruby Wax (comedienne & broadcaster), Barbara Rafferty (THE WICKER MAN, RIVER CITY), Alex Norton (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, TAGGART), Gail Porter (DEAD FAMOUS) and top Scottish comedian Ford Kiernan (CHEWING THE FAT, THE LAST GREAT WILDERNESS).

We have been working on the short film for some time, ensuring that our technology and animated output is as good as the rest of them, said co-creator/director Sascha Hartmann. The feedback from our continual focus groups, on the characters, the textures and storyline is better that we could have ever expected and continues to improve with every excerpt we test. Having received interest from some major book publishers, music publishers and other areas of revenue, it really made sense to progress to full-length feature. Our entire production facilities have been based in Scotland from day one and it is our intention to keep this very much Scottish product, based in the U.K. after all, there is no one else who has created, produced and cast and independent production like this from Scotland.

The company have already spent around £3 million to date on the development and pre-production and is confident that the final £3 million it seeks will allow them to complete the full length feature in 12 months.

As our team have been working on the short film for some time now, all the ingredients are in place, from storyboards, animators, editors, sound, special effects team and marketing, so it makes sense to simply extend this short to a full length feature, states Tessa Hartmann, co-creator/marketing chief.

Whilst Sascha has been working on the creative development of the project, Tessa, who also runs one of Scotlands leading PR agencies, has been responsible for the projects international profile.

Of course it helps when one has an asset like Sir Sean Connery attached, who has been personally involved in the projects publicity to date, adds Tessa. Having created a SIR BILLI tartan, which was launched by Connery in New York earlier this year at Dressed to Kilt, the company has been inundated with enquiries since.

The merchandising opportunities with this project are immense and weve only scratched the surface. Being a small independent its a kind of David and Goliath situation, not having the marketing budget of the majors! However, with a little clever Scottish thinking and one of our all time greatest heros Sir Sean flying the SIR BILLI flag around the world, Id say were in with a good shout.

The company has completed a seven-minute trailer of the film and are in discussions with several venture capital houses, private investors and banks.

We are looking to raise this finance over the next few months to allow our production to continue without being interrupted. But this isnt just an investment in a film. This is an investment opportunity into an animated legacy that has an incredible lifespan and an astonishing intellectual property value projects like this simply dont come around that often, concludes Sascha.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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