A circus mystery takes some transformative, often furry, twists and turns in Animal Crackers — a CG animated feature film which will debut in 190 countries through Netflix on July 24. In this week’s live Q&A panel for the Annecy Festival Online (annecy.org), directors Tony Bancroft (Mulan) and Scott Christian Sava, also the film’s writer, discuss their colorful big top tale of a family who turn to magical box of Animal Crackers to save a run-down circus from being taken over by their evil uncle.
In the session, Sava will share how he came up with the film’s concept while enjoying a snack and playing make-believe with his young twin boys. “The idea just came to me: What if you eat a lion cookie, and poof! You become a lion? … The kids loved it and we played for the rest of the day like that, eating Animal Crackers and pretending we were that animal.” The idea later evolved into a graphic novel where some youngsters harness the power of these magical munches to rescue the animals from a circus.
Bancroft will discuss how the duo’s friendship and the uniqueness of the story led him from the world of traditional hand-drawn animation into recapturing the old-timey enchantment of the circus with a cutting-edge CG look inspired by unique production design and major studio-level quality of style and scope.
The directors will be joined by animation veteran Carter Goodrich (Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, Despicable Me, The Croods, Hotel Transylvania), who created the vibrant, cartoony character designs for the film — despite his aversion to clowns. Bancroft and Sava will also delve into the incredible talent they were able to pull in for all aspects of creating an epic and emotive cinematic experience.
On top of its pedigreed creative team, Animal Crackers features a stellar voice cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellen, Raven-Symoné, Harvey Fierstein, Sylvester Stallone, Gilbert Gottfried, Patrick Warburto and Tara Strong.
Catch the Live Annecy Q&A Panel for Animal Crackers online Wednesday, June 17 at 9 a.m. PT.
Tony Bancroft spent 12 years as an animator with Disney Studios, helping create and animate beloved characters like Pumbaa (The Lion King), Kronk (The Emperor’s New Groove), Cogsworth (Beauty and the Beast) and Iago (Aladdin). He was the co-director of Disney’s Mulan, for which he received the Annie Award for Director of the Year; and animation supervisor of Sony’s Stuart Little 2, for which he received the VES Award for character animation. Bancroft recently returned to animation for Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns and, currently, Warner Brothers’ Space Jam 2, animating Looney Tunes characters. He and his twin brother, Tom, started a popular podcast focusing on the animation industry called The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast, which is the #1 podcast for animation on iTunes.
Over the last 20 years, Scott Christian Sava‘s work has brought some of the world’s most beloved characters to life in film, television, comics and games. His first feature film gig was Casper the Friendly Ghost. By 2000, Sava’s animation was in such demand that he formed Blue Dream Studios, pioneering the concept of global virtual studios. Star Wars, X-Files, Aliens vs. Predator, Spider-Man and many more franchises soon became a part of this emerging studio. In 2002, Blue Dream began publishing its own successful book content. Disney purchased the rights to produce Pet Robots as a feature film in 2006. Since then, four other studios have done the same and several more are in development. That same year, Sava began putting The Dreamland Chronicles online — Now, over 29 million readers have come to the site and over 500,000 hits a day are generated. Animal Crackers is Sava’s first movie, and he is “living the dream” in his hometown of Franklin, Tennessee.