Search form

Athena Studios Signs Nate Hopper for ‘Auntie Claus’

Former Sony Pictures Animation exec to serve as co-producer of stop-motion animated holiday feature.

Nate Hopper

Nate Hopper

Emeryville, CA -- Just in time for the 2014 Christmas holiday, Athena Studios, an Emeryville, CA-based studio specializing in animation for film and multimedia clients, has signed Nate Hopper as Co-Producer of the company’s original, currently in development, stop-motion animation feature film project Auntie Claus. The announcement was made by Jon V. Peters, Founder of Athena Studios.

Hopper was previously the Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs at Sony Pictures Animation, where he helped build start-up studio Sony Pictures Animation.

Athena Studios is actively involved in the development of a 90-minute, stop-motion, musical motion picture based on Auntie Claus, the first book in the best-selling Christmas series. Athena Studios obtained the feature film rights to the award-winning children’s Christmas book by author Elise Primavera.

“Since the moment that I conceived of Auntie Claus’ I hoped the book would be adapted into an animated musical,” said Primavera. “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.”

Nate Hopper joins several other heavyweight animation figures who have previously committed to the Auntie Claus production. These include:

  • Pete Kozachik, Director of Photography: Kozachik has served as DP on Coraline, The Corpse Bride, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. He was also involved with the Visual Effects on Star Wars Episode II, Ghostbusters 2, Starship Troopers, Star Trek IV, and Robocop 2 and 3
  • Tom Proost, Art Director: Proost has served as Art Director on Coraline, and worked in Visual Effects for Galaxy Quest, Star Wars: Episode II, The Mummy, AI: Artificial Intelligence, and The Matrix 2 and 3
  • Kat Alioshin, Line Producer. Alioshin was assistant director on James and the Giant Peach and was a supervisor on Coraline, Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas, prior to joining the Auntie Claus development crew.  

“The Auntie Claus character is something truly fun and different,” said Hopper. “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.”

Said Peters, “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.”

Source: Athena Studios

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.