FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bardel Animation Sets New Standard in 2D & 3D with The Prophet Starring Salma Hayek – Opening Vancity August 14
August 6, 2015 – When Roger Allers, Director of The Prophet (The Lion King) teamed up with award winning Actress/Producer, Salma Hayek, to turn the best-selling novel Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet into an animated film – they handpicked Canada’s fastest growing animation company Bardel Entertainment Inc. The Prophet, which opens in theatres across the U.S. this August with select screenings in Canada, has set a new industry standard in hand drawn 2D & 3D animation.
“The movie is about freedom,” said Salma Hayek in an interview to Reuters. “And [the] animation gave us the freedom to be more faithful to the theme of the film.”
Bardel’s Supervising Animation Director of 3D, Eric Prebende and Studio CG Supervisor, Chris Browne, can attest to just how complicated and nuanced the process was to mix 2D hand-painted backgrounds with CG animation.
“What we were tasked to do is similar to building a bridge while also running across it,” says Prebende. “Most of the backgrounds were done as water color 2D backgrounds and it was our job to create and combine CG animated characters in a way that still looked and felt like hand painted animation – but with an entirely different technology.”
Although, the film started out in 2D animation, six months into the project the producers started exploring the idea of CG for the speed it could be done, and also to allow more freedom in “framing”. Initially, Allers was not convinced and with good reason. Adding CG to hand painted backgrounds could ultimately sacrifice the vision, style and the integrity of his art. In short, if not executed with upmost skill and integrity, the outcome would be a film Allers didn’t set out to make. His goal was to engender enthusiasm about the art. Being the kind of storyteller he is, he was not willing to sacrifice this.
Over the past two decades, Bardel Entertainment Inc. has garnered a reputation for impeccable standards in animation providing animation services for top US ratings hits such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Teen Titans Go!, Rick and Morty. When bidding on The Prophet, Bardel had 48 hours to create and fit a CG character into a 2D hand-painted environment. After a 48 hours of testing and re-testing, Bardel came up with a sample that not only won the job, but proved to Roger they could deliver on his vision for The Prophet.
“Roger is obsessed with traditional hand drawn animation,” said Chris Browne, Studio CG Supervisor. “The first thing we had to do was analyze the sequence of the different frameworks for the backgrounds and then determine what CG models had replicated to match the hand painted set. This included texturing to match the hand painted style, and the various render treatments for line quality, shading, and color. It all had to fit seamlessly.”
Roger summed up the experience by saying, “Working with Bardel was amazing. They have an incredible crew run by incredible people. There was so much Creative Intelligence that went into this project while working under extreme pressure…I’m just so proud of what we put together.”
The Prophet captivated audiences at its U.S. premiere screening in L.A this July and received a standing ovation when it opened the 2015 Annecy Film Festival. It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and will be screening at Vancity Theatre from August 14 -23.
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