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A town called panic goes to the big screen

29 juni 2007
A team of animators at the Beast Animation Studios in Brussels has started preparations for the shooting of A Town Called Panic, a feature length movie based on the popular TV animation series of the same name. A Town Called Panic is a very popular stop motion animation series, made with plastic figurines, which airs in Australia, the United States, the Netherlands, France etc. In five-minute episodes, stories evolve around three main characters: Cowboy, Indian and Horse, the last being the most sensible one in a household of three.
The absurd humour of A Town Called Panic explains a great deal of its success. Creators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier of La Parti Production, also known from Pic Pic André, have already been awarded for Panique au village (the original French title) at the Annecy Animation Film Festival. Aardman had already picked up on the success and is responsible for the distribution in the English-speaking countries. The actual shooting of the feature-length film will start in September 2007 and is scheduled to be finished at the end of May 2008, with the theatrical release being scheduled for 2009. A team of 11 animators will start shooting and four extra colleagues will join them in the process. Total production budget is € 3.5 million, of which the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (V.A.F.) contributes € 100,000. Although the creators want to remain true to the original, the adaptation to the big screen has a lot of implications, explains Ben Tesseur of Beast Animation: 'It has an impact on all levels. In the screenplay for example, you need to make sure that there are enough moments where you give the audience a break. There will also be a love story in the film. And for the big screen, we obviously need to pay even more attention to detail than we already did, making the figurines and the settings ready for their close up.' As a sort of festive starting event, the team organised a 'casting' on May 11 at the 'les Nuits Botanique' festival in Brussels. Everyone contributing at least five figurines for the film, was promised to appear in the credits of the film. More than 500 figurines passed the first selection. The lucky ones of the second casting round will undergo plastic surgery before shooting.