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Duncan Studio Creates Animation for ‘Middle School’ Feature

Fifty artists at Pasadena, CA-based animation studio create 10 animated sequences for live-action/animated family comedy, ‘Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,’ arriving in theaters October 7th.

PASADENA, CA -- Boutique animation shop Duncan Studio recently collaborated on the upcoming live-action/animated family comedy, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, opening in theaters this Friday, October 7th.

The story leaps from the page to the screen in this inventive and ambitious film based on the bestselling series by James Patterson. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is directed by Steve Carr (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) from a screenplay by Chris Bowman & Hubbel Palmer and Kara Holden, and produced by Leopoldo Gout and Bill Robinson of James Patterson Entertainment. The film stars Griffin Gluck, Lauren Graham, Rob Riggle, Thomas Barbusca, Isabela Moner, Andy Daly and Adam Pally.

The live-action film is peppered with fantastical animation sequences and characters created by a team of roughly 50 artists at Duncan Studio -- animators, background painters, color ink and paint, comp and effects artists -- under the leadership of animation director Chris Sauvé and Duncan Studio president Ken Duncan, who oversaw the production of 10 animated sequences for the film.

“Creativity is the foundation of Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life and we were incredibly fortunate to have the Duncan Studio team working with us to realize these integral parts of the film,” said Carr.

“James Patterson’s funny and moving writing allowed us to understand the mindset of Rafe, and use the imaginative world animation to convey his inner conflicts,” Duncan added. “We feel honored to help bring one of his books to the big screen, as well as a sense of responsibility to keep the animation elements true to his story and to director Steve Carr’s vision. The animation sequences in the film add to the overall themes in the book, to encourage and allow creativity and the imagination to flourish, to avoid becoming constrained and regimented. This is the very nature of animation, to stylize and exaggerate reality in humorous and dramatic ways, without limitations.”

Here’s the official synopsis:

Rafe has an epic imagination...and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. It’s Ferris Bueller meets Home Alone as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos both real and imagined. But Dwight displays his own fiendish creativity, striking back at the rulebreakers.

Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother’s boyfriend -- a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear -- threatens to become his stepfather. Time is of the essence as he fights to turn the worst year of his life into the best.

Source: Duncan Studio

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.