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John Stevenson Tapped To Direct “Noah’s Ark” For Unified Pictures

John Stevenson Tapped To Direct “Noah's Ark” For Unified Pictures

Unified Pictures announced today that Academy Award-nominated
director John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) will direct the company’s first CG-
animated feature inspired by “Noah’s Ark,” which is slated for completion in 2016.

The animated comedy adventure is inspired by the classic tale, but tells
the story from the point of view of the animals. The story follows an outcast
aardvark by the name of Gilbert, who becomes the reluctant leader of a ragtag
group of misfit animals that need to be led to the mighty ark before the impending
flood. Along their journey, they band together to conquer unforeseen obstacles,
and ultimately, Gilbert discovers within himself the inner strength and ingenuity to
prove that in a world of “twos,” he was truly destined to be “the one.”

Stevenson is a director and artist who has worked for over 30 years in animation after getting his start in the entertainment industry on “Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show.” While at Henson’s he worked on “The Great Muppet Caper”, “The Dark Crystal“, and “Labyrinth” before moving to DreamWorks Animation to work on such blockbuster animated features as “Shrek,” Shrek 2” and “Madagascar.” As a director on “Kung Fu Panda,” he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature (with Mark Osborne), and also won the Annie Award for Directing in a Feature Production.

“John Stevenson is among the finest storytellers and animation filmmakers
in the business and brings with him a wealth of experience. His unique ability to
personalize this global story with tremendous heart and humor is sure to make
this an inspiring film for all ages,” said Unified Pictures President Keith Kjarval.

Added Stevenson, “As soon as Kurt and Keith approached me with the
idea of taking the classic tale of ‘Noah’s Ark’ and telling a more personal story
within the story, I jumped at the chance. It’s so exciting to work with everyone at
Unified Pictures and we’re fortunate to have assembled such a stellar group of
artists to help make the film.”

Currently in pre-production, the film’s script was written by Philip LaZebnik
(“The Prince of Egypt,” “Mulan” and “Pocahontas”) and Glen Dolman (“So I Meet
a Girl
” blacklisted script). The production is being overseen by executive
producers Cecil Kramer (“Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” “Flushed
Away,” and “Astro Boy
”) and Stevenson with Unified Pictures’ Kurt Rauer and
Keith Kjarval. The company has also assembled an all-star team of animation
veterans that includes production designer Luc Desmarchelier (“Spirit: Stallion of
the Cimarron,” “Open Season”), visual development artist Richie Chavez (“The
Prince of Egypt,” “Mulan”
), editor Stan Webb (“Nightmare Before Christmas,”
”), conceptual story artist Robert Stevenhagen (“Frankenweenie,” “Wallace
& Gromit: The Curse of the Were-rabbit
”), and story artist Larry Leker (“Beauty
and the Beast,” “The Lion King

Founded in 2004 by Keith Kjarval and Kurt Rauer, Unified Pictures is an independent production company that has previously produced six live action films. “A Single Shot” (directed by David M. Rosenthal) just premiered
at the Berlin Film Festival. Unified’s
latest completed production “Rudderless” features actor William H.
Macy’s directorial debut and will be theatrically distributed on
October 17th by Paramount & Samuel Goldwyn Company.

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