This morning was the start of this 2015 edition of the VIEW Conference. Mark Osborne, director of ‘The Little Prince‘ and previously ‘Kung-Fu Panda‘, was in charge of launching this week of talks, panels and workshops. During a full hour, he went back on the genesis of TLP and how he was personaly connected to this project: he actually discovered the book thanks to his wife, when she offered him her copy, years before they finally married together.
Years comes by and he worked on a couple of acclaimed shortfilms using mainly traditional and stop-motion animation. Soon he became co-director on a big animated feature – Kung Fu Panda – which was his very first experience with CG animation.Not a long after – 6 years ago – he has been contacted to work on a new project: an adaptation of ‘The Little Prince’. At first he declined the proposition, judging the project way too personal and impossible to adapt. However he finally decided to accept in order to protect the book and its meaning.
From the beginning he took the decision to find a way to adapt the book, but with a new approach: the book structure would never fit for a animated feature adaptation. He started by looking at Orson Wells’ early scripts written in the 40’s but he then discovered that those scripts were straight adaptations of the book, which he wanted to avoid. After a few months, taking his little girl as inspiration, he decided to develop a lead female character, also inspired by the Miyazaki cinematography and created a complete new universe around the original story. The St Exupery’s family was very supportive about the project and provided lots of original drawings and rough drafts.
Finally Osborne concluded his talk by talking about the production itself, which took place between Paris and Montreal at Mikros Image. They decided to use a mix of CG animation and stop-motion: cg anim for the real world, and stop motion with paper for the “story” sequence. He then mention the involment of the Guerrila Render team to get a believable lookdev matching the stopmotion paper look.
A really inspiring talk!
Later during the day, it was Lorne Peterson’s turn to give us a great talk. The ILM’s legend showed us lots of behind the scenes photos and gave several anecdotes about his work as the Model Shop Supervisor during more than 30 years, from the first Star Wars trilogy to Men In Black and The Revenge of the Sith, among many others!
Other highlights of the day were the Women in Animation panel and the fascinating talk of Steven Emerson from LAIKA: it’s always incredible to see how much work these guys did in beautiful stop-motion animated features like Paranorman and The Boxtrolls!