Los Angeles, CA -- Unified Pictures has tapped two of Hollywood’s most illustrious animators, Academy Award nominee John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda, Shrek) and Cameron Hood (Megamind, First Flight) for the company’s CG-animated feature Noah’s Ark. Stevenson will head up the creative on the film and Executive Produce while Hood will Co-Direct.
Written by Philip LaZebnik (The Prince of Egypt, Mulan and Pocahontas), Unified’s Noah's Ark tells the epochal Biblical tale from the point of view of the animals' journey.
The production will take place in Los Angeles though Unified’s own in-house animation division.
Unified’s version of Noah’s Ark follows the story of Gilbert. A lovable but misunderstood Meerkat, who is chosen against all odds to lead a rag tag group of outcast animals to the mighty Ark. An animated musical, told from the viewpoint of the animals, Noah will follow this journey through the changing climate as Gilbert and his band of misfits find the hero inside of them in order to reach Noah’s Ark.
“Having the extraordinary talents of John and Cameron, two of the most successful animators in the industry, come together for an animated picture written by Philip Le Zebnik is like assembling the Dream Team,” said Unified Pictures President Keith Kjarval. “We can’t think of better collaborators for Noah’s Ark.”
“Given John’s tremendous knack for telling richly layered stories and Cameron’s genius with character driven animation we feel that the production is poised to become a classic animated musical,” added Unified’s Founder and head of Animation, Kurt Rauer.
Unified Pictures is a diverse production company with a film slate stretching beyond animated fare. The company has two films premiering in the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival – the thriller A Single Shot, directed by David M. Rosenthal, starring Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy and Jeffrey Wright, and the dark comedy Trust Me, directed by and starring Clark Gregg, alongside Amanda Peet, Molly Shannon, Felicity Huffman, William H. Macy, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell.
John Stevenson is a British animation filmmaker and puppeteer best known for directing the blockbuster hit film, Kung Fu Panda with Mark Osborne. Stevenson has over 30 years of experience with animation, a veteran of DreamWorks PDI who got his start in the entertainment industry via Jim Henson's The Muppet Show.
He worked as a story artist on the feature films The Great Muppet Caper, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Little Shop of Horrors and as a character designer and story artist on shows like The Dreamstone, Count Duckula, and FernGully 2: The Magical Rescue. He also worked as puppeteer on James & the Giant Peach and Motion Capture Performer on The Moxy Pirate Show.
Stevenson worked for many years in the art department on many films at DreamWorks Animation such as Shrek, Shrek 2, Madagascar and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, before helming a number of episodes of their animated primetime show Father of the Pride. He worked for four years bringing Kung Fu Panda to the screen.
In 2009 Stevenson was nominated for an Academy Award with Mark Osborne for best Animated Feature for Kung Fu Panda and won the Annie Award with Osborne for Directing in a Feature Production.
In 2011-12 Stevenson directed a six minute animated short film for The Coca-Cola Company produced by Ridley and Tony Scott called The Polar Bears.
Cameron Hood is an award-winning writer, director, producer, and animator best known for co-directing and co-creating DreamWorks Animation's Megamind, which grossed over $400M worldwide. He also directed DreamWorks' award-winning short First Flight.
Cameron started his career in 1996 when Warner Bros. invited him to study under animation legend Chuck Jones.
He was later hired by DreamWorks Animation Studios, where he worked on such films as the Oscar-winning epic The Prince of Egypt. From writing, directing, story boarding, design, and animating, Cameron's thumb print can be found on the films Shark Tale, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2, just to name a few.
In 2006, Cameron directed First Flight, DreamWorks' first original theatrically-released short film. The film received multiple awards, rave reviews, and international recognition. The film also caught the attention of Ben Stiller and Red Hour Films, who offered Cameron a chance to direct and develop Megamind. This became the first time in DreamWorks' history an internal director successfully developed and brought a film into production. Starring Will Ferrell, Megamind became a favorite of audiences worldwide.
Cameron and his Lime Light Studios' team are set to release their first feature film Sky Force, a co-production with T-Films in Hong Kong. Cameron also recently consulted on Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me 2. Cameron is currently developing Junk with Larger Than Life Productions, and has been tapped to direct Live Music for the producers of Open Season and Surf's Up.
Source: United Pictures