"Varmints" began life as a book collaboration between aka director Marc Craste and renowned author and illustrator Helen Ward. Ward approached Craste having seen his commercial work and wrote the story of "Varmints" with him in mind to illustrate. At around the same time, production was winding up on "JoJo in the Stars" (2004), and the studio was looking for a new project to challenge itself both technically and creatively. As the book neared completion, it became apparent to Philip Hunt - Studioaka's creative director - that it could be just the material needed.
In the late summer, of 2006 Craste began expanding the story from its poetic form in the book to something that would more readily hold a cinema audience's attention. As sequences were written and mapped out in rough storyboards, it became apparent that while always planned to be twice the length of "JoJo," "Varmints" would be far more than twice the work. And considerably more costly, no small concern for producer Sue Goffe, given the film was to be entirely self-financed by the studio. But despite it being an enormously challenging film in so many areas -– and especially when for the most part it would need to be produced alongside a slate of high profile commercials -– enthusiasm for the project continued unabated.
Previsualisation started in early 2007. By the summer, principal animation was well underway, using animators in Germany and France as well as any that were temporarily free from commercial work in the London studio. Studioaka heavyweight James Gaillard, a longtime collaborator with Craste on numerous award-winning commercials and films, was brought in full-time to supervise the production, bringing his diverse skills to bear on every aspect of the film. A few days before Christmas saw the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus recording Johann Johannsson's score. In early 2008, Adrian Rhodes, a veteran of sound design, having headed up sound for films as varied as "Tomorrow Never Dies" to "The Full Monty," set about bringing to life the characters and the world of "Varmints." In July 2008, almost two years to the day after the first storyboard panels were drawn, the final frames of "Varmints" were rendered, the sound and music mixed, and the studio wrapped up production.
Release date is that of London premiere.
Varmints Production Information
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