DPS Film Roman Toons Up Crooner Connick

Following his recent Emmy win for music direction on his PBS Great Performances concert, singer/actor Harry Connick Jr. is teaming with IDT Ent.’s DPS Film Roman to co-produce a one-hour 3D-animated holiday special. The Happy Elf is based on Connick’s original children’s song of the same name from his 2003 album, Harry for the Holidays, 2003’s the top-selling holiday CD. HC Prods., whose partners include Connick, Scott Landis and Ann Marie Wilkins, will co-produce.

Written by Andrew Fishman from a story by Fishman and Scott Landis, The Happy Elf is the story of Eubie, one of Santa’s helpers, whose overly optimistic outlook is put to the test when he tries to bring Christmas joy to the sad little town of Bluesville.

Now in production for the 2005 holiday season, The Happy Elf will feature an animated Connick serving as host and narrator of the story, much like legendary performers Jimmy Durante, Fred Astaire and Burl Ives did for the classic Rankin & Bass holiday specials. Connick will also compose and produce the score.

DPS Film Roman’s senior VP of programming and development, Sidney Clifton, will serve as creative exec for the animation house. Landis will exec produce for HC Prods., which is also developing a musical feature film titled Ben Invention, based on an original idea by Connick, for 20th Century Fox.

IDT Ent.’s recently acquired Anchor Bay plans to release the special to the domestic DVD market, while the newly created IDT Ent. Sales company will handle worldwide television distribution.

The Happy Elf marks the third holiday special for Connick, who in 2003 appeared on CBS and NBC with Christmas and Thanksgiving concert shows. The three-time Grammy winner has sold more than 20 million records and has appeared in feature films and television series, most recently enjoying a long stint on the NBC sitcom, Will and Grace.