Athena Studios, an Emeryville, CA-based company specializing in animation, announced that the studio’s original, stop-motion animated short film, Mermaids on Mars, was named Winner of the “Best Animation” Award for 2015 during the just concluded Carmel International Film Festival.
Athena Studios provided all of the animation and production work on the film. The studio also helped to adapt the original full-length screenplay by the film’s producer Nancy Guettier (author of the “Mermaids on Mars” book) and by writer Jarrett Galante into its short film format.
To bring the story of Mermaids on Mars to life, Athena assembled a notable crew comprised of a number of stop-motion animation and feature film luminaries. Among these crew members: Athena Producer Kat Alioshin (“Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Coraline,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Corpse Bride,“) Director of Photography Pete Kozachik (“Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” “Corpse Bride” “Nightmare Before Christmas“) Cinematographer Timothy Taylor (Frankenweenie, Coraline) Art Director Tom Proost (James and the Giant Peach) and Puppet Fabricator Victoria Rose Zalewski (Coraline).
Immediately following the film’s award win at the Carmel Film Festival, Jon V. Peters, Director of Mermaids on Mars and founder of Athena Studios, was joined by “Mermaids” co-producer Kat Alioshin and the film’s lead animator, Justin Kohn, for a panel entitled “The Making of ‘Mermaids on Mars,’” which was held at Sony Pictures Animation as part of the 2015 World Animation Celebration.
Mermaids on Mars came to Athena Studios from children’s book author Nancy Guettier, a producer on the film. Guettier had written the book that the film is loosely based on in 2012, as a dedication to her three adopted children. The multi-talented Guettier also wrote the five songs that are featured in the short film. The story behind “Mermaids on Mars” centers around a young boy named Julian who takes a fantastic adventure to Mars. There, he discovers that the last surviving mermaids in the universe are living in a small body of water on that planet.
Guettier found Athena Studios while seeking a production company with which to collaborate in translating her book into film. She discovered that Athena was currently in-production on a stop-motion animated feature film Auntie Claus – a discovery that made an instant connection with the author.
Working with Jon Peters and Athena’s designers, Guettier and the rest of the Athena team developed the fanciful 20-minute piece that combines stop-motion, live action and music to bring to life what Peters calls, “Truly a wonderful tale.”
And to view many behind the scenes/making of featurettes on the making of “Mermaids On Mars,” click here.