‘The Amazing Maurice’ Makes Its Way to Sundance

The Amazing Maurice, based on the Carnegie award-winning novel by Terry Pratchett, has earned the rare animated feature distinction as a selection for the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, where it will mark its U.S. premiere. Established in 1978 by Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute, the prestigious event’s next edition will be held January 19-29 in Park City, Utah.

“Adapting Pratchett is an honor and a challenge, one that must not be taken lightly. His work brings a complexity of tragedy and humor,” said director Toby Genkel. “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.”

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…

The Amazing Maurice
The Amazing Maurice

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 colorful 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,” noted producer Robert Chandler.

A Germany-U.K. co-production, the film is 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.

Producer Baker added, “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.”

The Amazing Maurice
The Amazing Maurice

Animation studios on The Amazing Maurice are Studio Rakete (Hamburg) and Red Star 3D (Sheffield).

“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,” said Christians, producer at Ulysses. “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.”

The film’s international sales agent is Global Screen. Viva Kids is handling U.S. distribution, and will release the movie in theaters  across the U.S. and Canada on February 3. The film will make its U.K. debut on December 16 as a Sky Original from Sky Cinema and in independent cinemas nationwide.



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