Press release: Skatedog Films present: Oscar Wilde's "The Happy Prince."
Skatedog welcome you to their unique visual world, the world of 'The Happy Prince'.
Oscar Wilde's classic short story has been lovingly recreated in a massively ambitious project spanning two years of production, including contributions from London college students, and featuring a strange and unusual view of Victorian London, realised in a unique mixture of all forms of animation.
The story is brought to life by a cast of acclaimed professional actors, providing the breath and many voices of Wilde's characters.
Sean Gallagher (Coronation St, Rock Rivals, Linda Green) plays the Prince and narrates the story.
Jim Conway (Badinage) plays the Swallow.
Penny Layden (Silent Witness, Poppy Shakespeare, The Libertine) plays many of the supporting characters in the Victorian world.
Wilde's story casts us into a world where the rich are oblivious to the poor. A golden statue stands on a high column gravely looking down upon the city, hurt by the pain and cruelty he sees. When he had been alive, the statue had been the 'Happy Prince' and spent his life surrounded by pleasure and luxury - he had never realised how others were suffering.
Now, stuck high over the city, he cannot avoid seeing the pain of the city.
He befriends a lost and curious Swallow, bound for Egypt, who lands mistakenly upon his column. Together the two agree to help the poor and hungry of his city. Their actions will have a price, as slowly the Happy Prince is stripped of his finery and winter approaches.
This piece is an improbable work of 'tenacious audacity', made lovingly by the singular vision of Skatedog, and nursed slowly into a melancholic, multi-media, masterpiece. For a debut piece, it is an immense undertaking 20 minutes of animation across all variants of the art form is an enormous first piece.
In a world where the average CGI feature film has a budget of around £150 million, and even budget animation pieces cost millions, a major triumph of the Happy Prince is its miniscule budget- less than the cost of coffee or sandwiches on the average production, having been produced for under £5000!
The director has achieved this by spending over 3,000 man hours at the nest of computers at the Skatedog headquarters, working across up to 5 machines at once, 24-7, 365 collaborated with art and media students who contributed artwork, models, and the occasional shot, using and recycling all sets and models from the most surprising of sources.
All aspects of the production have been carried out by the Skatedog team in-house, from actual conception, adaption, pre-visualisation, modelling, animating, rendering, compositing, and editing.
The resulting piece wears its influences on its sleeve, happily referencing Jan Svankmaer, Tim Burton, The Brothers Quay, Suzie Templeton and Oliver Postgate, among other classic animators, sending a defiant message to those who say 'You can't do that anymore
Firmly believing in the continuing power of 'naive', simplistic character animation, where style and, fundamentally, story are the most important factors.
All that is missing is you, so we invite you to step across the threshold from this world into ours, and join us at the movies.
The Happy Prince evokes memories of a simpler, gentler world, constantly shifting and surprising, but familiar. The story will touch you heart, and remind all of the genius of Oscar Wilde and its message has never been more relevant.