Vanguard Wags Tail for Santa’s Paws

Christmas is going to the dogs, thanks to a new animated feature in development at Vanguard Animation in conjunction with Nash Entertainment. Variety reports that the U.K.-based studio (which also has offices in Los Angeles) is developing Santa’s Paws, a feature-length toon about a stray pooch that accidentally hitches a ride to the North Pole on Santa Claus’ sleigh. The project is based on a pitch by producer Bruce Nash, the veteran reality show producer, whose numerous credits include Meet My Folks, For Love or Money and Outback Jack.

The canine-themed Christmas project was bought by Margaret French Isaac, Vanguard’s executive VP of production and development. The film is being penned by Damian Dibben,who also wrote the upcoming Puss n Boots feature for Jim Henson Productions. Vanguard’s minority owner IDT Entertainment is funding the project and will hold distribution rights.

Vanguard is also in production on Happily Never After and Space Chimps, which Fox will release in 2008. The company’s maiden voyage was last summer’s Valiant, the Disney release about WWII messenger pigeons. For more info, visit www.vanguardanimation.com.