The legacy of Walt Disney has been passed on to big new players like Pixar and Dreamworks, both of which are U.S. companies.
Therefore, one would assume that the world’s first 3G animated feature film for adults also came out of the Hollywood dream factories, right?
Storm Studios of Oslo, Norway has produced “Free Jimmy,” an edgy 86-minute film featuring four stoners, three mobsters from Lapland, five militant vegans, four inebriated hunters, one wayward circus elephant and a mysterious moose.
The story centers on Roy Arne (Woody Harrelson of Natural Born Killers and Cheers), a stable-hand working for a third-rate Russian circus. Arne dreams of one day running his own circus and conquering the world. The key to his scheme is a secret held by Jimmy the Elephant, who can only perform when pumped up with narcotics.
After going on a drug-induced rampage, Jimmy gets locked up, but he escapes and runs away to the moors. Arne and his stoner friends, including sidekick Odd (Simon Pegg, known for his role in Shaun of the Dead), pursue the crazed elephant, but they aren’t alone. Militant animal rights activists, the Lappish Mafia and some drunken hunters also want to find Jimmy for their own reasons.
“This is a film targeting teenagers. When we screened it in London, the college kids just loved it,” says Free Jimmy producer Lars Hellebust. At this writing, the film had just held its premier in Oslo. Hellebust was preparing to fly to Los Angeles for discussions with several of the largest film distribution companies in the USA.
The producer argues that the time is finally right for a 3G animated film for adults.
“A lot of teenagers nowadays don’t see movies anymore. They only play computer games. That generation is very familiar with 3D animation. They grew up with Shrek, they grew up with the Pixar movies. Now, when they are 18 years old, they want something a bit more violent, something more rock n’ roll than Shrek, and that is what this is. This is sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll,” the producer tells Nordic Reach.
The farcical elephant road movie is directed by Christopher Nielsen, born in 1963, who directed and animated “Friday Night Fever” (1986), which won the Audience Award at the Oslo Animation Festival. Nielsen also created ”Spoilers,” (2000) about two petty criminals in their late 30’s, one of the first computer-animated series to be produced in Norway.
Free Jimmy had a production budget of aproximately USD 17 million, which is roughly one-fifth of the cost of a similar animated film produced in the United States.
For more info, see: www.freejimmy.com
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