The animated feature film, THE AMAZING MAURICE, based on the Carnegie award-winning novel by Terry Pratchett, ‘The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents’, has been selected for the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
It is a rare event for an animated feature to be selected for the prestigious festival, a celebration of the best in independent cinema from around the world. The festival is held in Park City, Utah, and was set up by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in 1978.
THE AMAZING MAURICE, a Germany-UK co-production, produced by Emely Christians at Ulysses Filmproduktion and Andrew Baker and Robert Chandler at Cantilever Media, stars Hugh Laurie, Emilia Clarke, David Thewlis, Himesh Patel, David Tennant, Ariyon Bakare and Gemma Arterton, and was directed by Toby Genkel from a screenplay by Terry Rossio.
The film tells the story of a talking cat who teams up with a clan of “educated rodents” to run pied-piper scams in the towns of Discworld. All goes well until they come to Bad Blintz and meet a mysterious enemy who has his own nefarious plans for the inhabitants of the town. Maurice and the rats team up with two humans, Malicia and Keith, to take on the enemy. But first they have to retrieve the real pied-piper’s pipe.
Toby Genkel, Director said: “Adapting Pratchett is an honour and a challenge, one that must not be taken lightly. His work brings a complexity of tragedy and humour. He tells stories that are about something and this resonates with me. We aimed to be faithful to the themes of the novel as well as make it work as an animated movie for families. We do go to some dark places and I hope we take the audience along with us because there’s a lot of fun to be had along the way. And, of course, it ends with a mighty celebration”.
Emely Christians, Producer said: “We made this film at the height of the pandemic lockdowns. We had to reconfigure our pipelines in Hamburg and Sheffield with the teams working remotely, but we did it, we got it made and remained true to our budget and schedule. What was really important, though, was the way the teams worked together, especially with many of the artists and animators not being able to meet in advance. Our collective passion for the film and its characters pulled us through. We think we have delivered something really special”.
Andrew Baker, Producer said: “We worked alongside Narrativia, the company that looks after the Terry Pratchett literary estate, from the get-go. They were involved at every stage and could see the sheer passion and experience we brought to the film. I myself am a huge Terry Pratchett fan – I’ve read everything – and this was important. The estate could see we had put together a team of producers, directors, artists and animators who cared greatly about the responsibility of delivering something good and true to Terry’s voice. I am really proud of this film”.
Robert Chandler, Producer said: “The Amazing Maurice has many lead characters, including one wily cat, two humans, five intelligent rats, Death, a demented pied piper, and a bad guy who is an embodiment of the collective fury of all the rats. We procured a top-tier cast, and their voices, applied to our art director’s colourful vision for the film, plus the work of the animators, framed through director Toby’s ability to portray the fun and the depths of the story, brought the film to life in an exceptional way. It is its own unique thing.”
Animation studios on THE AMAZING MAURICE are Studio Rakete (Hamburg) and Red Star 3D (Sheffield). Production companies are Cantilever Media and Ulysses Filmproduktion. International sales agent is Global Screen and the USA distributor is Viva Kids.
The film is released on 16 December in the UK as a Sky original from Sky Cinema and in independent cinemas nationwide. Sundance represents the US premiere of the film in January and the film is released theatrically across the USA and Canada on 3rd February.