Stop-motion animation is an art form that has a long, varied, and rich history, stretching as far back as the beginning of the 20th century. In the last two decades, however, the technique has seen something of a renaissance, with films such as Corpse Bride and Fantastic Mr. Fox and television series like Robot Chicken allowing a new generation to fully appreciate the medium.
Filmmakers Kathie Olivas and Brandt Peters are immersed in that tradition of movie-making and want to further contribute to its rich history by bringing their short Calliope to life, taking to Kickstarter to make that dream a reality. The crowdfunding campaign, which is now live, will enable Olivas, Peters, Martin Meunier (Coraline), and executive producer Jon Schnepp (of Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse and the Kickstarter film The Death of Superman Lives) to create the short based on the story of Calliope Jackalope, a toy created by Olivas and Peters.
The tale of Calliope mixes the sweet and the macabre, featuring a protagonist who has no clue she’s actually the Horseman of the Apocalypse known as Pestilence. The conceit immediately made me think of authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett’s novel Good Omens, which is very much a good thing. Stories starring characters unaware of their destinies and possibly pushing back against or embracing them are always incredibly engaging and have a very Joseph Campbell vibe to them. More than that, however, those types of yarns are just fun in the hands of the right creators, and Olivas and Peters seem to appreciate balancing story and whimsy. Check out the trailer to the proposed project below.
Moreover, Calliope is clearly a labor of love for the wife-husband partnership.
“Calliope Jackalope has been a part of my world for a long time, on paper and as a toy,” said Olivas. “Seeing her fully animated in Calliope is the best kind of surreal.”
Peters echoes Olivas’ sentiments, saying, “By funding the film independently on Kickstarter, we can make sure the film looks and feels exactly the way we, the artists, want it to.”
The film, the debut movie from Circus Posterus Films, the movie arm of the couple’s arts collective Circus Posterus, has a pretty high pedigree, featuring work from the creative team behind Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s incredibly heartening to see filmmakers who are pulling out all the stops to make their vision a reality.
If you choose to contribute to the Calliope Kickstarter campaign—and, based on the trailer, why wouldn’t you?—there are a variety of rewards for your generosity. Some of those goodies include:
A 4-figure mini toy set, fabricated by Cardboard Spaceship Toys, based on the second installment from next year’s Olivas-Peters imagined Wandering Misfits mini series;
A brand new vinyl toy figure, also from Cardboard Spaceship, based on Peters’ Night King;
An exclusive color design of the ‘Bat with a Secret Past’ from Peters’ Stingy Jack’s universe;
Olivas and soft sculpture/fine artist Lana Crooks’ micro-edition Calliope resin sculptures with fabric costuming;
Peters-designed toys made in Japan by toy company Tomenosuke, hand airbrushed by Peters;
A handmade talking Spirit Board which allows you to play an interactive role in the Calliope story through Divination;
and a new Oracle Deck, like the one Calliope uses in the story’s haunting nod to American Spiritualism.
You have until November 24th to throw in your contributions to make this beauty a reality, but don’t wait until the last minute! Trust me, as an avid fan of the stop-motion medium, anyone who loves the art form will adore this short should it become to fruition.
For more information, be sure to check out the campaign’s Kickstarter page, Circus Posterus’ Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the Circus Posterus website.