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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Our First Feature(s)

Jungledyret Hugo
After having animated on several films for Don Bluth, and having animated sixteen minutes of FernGully: the Last Rainforest, we felt it was our turn to produce our own feature film, and Denmark being a small country, we found that this was only possible through co-operation with a well-known Danish author. We contacted Flemming Quist Møller who had written a little good-night story for his son, and it was this story that became our first feature film "Jungledyret Hugo" ("Hugo the Jungle Animal," in English called "Jungle Jack" and later "Jungo") which was released in 1993.

At the time, I had myself rented out to work on a project called "The History of Our Wonderful World" which I co-directed with Anders Sørensen - more about this later. I got to edit the animatic of "Jungle Jack" and animate only two scenes, as well as program the production software at night while working on the World History in the daytime. In the mean time, the studio animated on several other relatively well-known features, and a slew of commercials.

Since the first film turned out to be a success, at least locally, we began working on a sequel, "Jungledyret Hugo: den Store Filmstjerne" ("Jungle Jack the Movie Star"), with storyboard by Anders Sørensen and myself with Dan Harder and Stefan Fjeldmark who had directed the first film and would direct the second, again together with Flemming, the author. I also edited this film, and figured out how to work seamlessly with studios around the world who helped us animate it, including our own daughter company A. Film Estonia, and this resulted in my working full-time with computers.

In 2004 I happened to find a DVD called "Hugo the Movie Star" while browsing at Amoeba in Hollywood, and found that BOTH films were on it, with the first film, now called "Go Hugo Go," as a special feature to support the second one. More worryingly, I found that the soundtrack, originally produced professionally in 5.1, had been replaced by a rather awful and completely new stereo track, with actors "so good you can hear they are real actors" and music that made it sound like a cheap tv series. Then I found that, since Miramax had bought it before the Disney take-over, it had ended in the Disney library, and in a catalog for the Disney Movie Club it was on a page with "Classics" with Pocahontas and Mulan! My jaw dropped when I saw that! NONE of these things we had heard anything about before I happened upon them: when the distribution rights are sold to be able to produce the film, it is out of our hands completely.

Above sketch is a very small color painting that fell out of a box in our storage when I recently rummaged through it. I have no idea who painted it, or with which exact purpose...



Anonymous Zartok-35 says...

I always like Ferngully. A. Film animated the Goanna character, right?

Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 4:54:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Hans Perk says...

Well, Zartok, the Goanna was just a little part of our work. Sixteen minutes is about one-sixth of the film!

We did flying fairies at the beginning, partly using our great director Bill Kroyer's computer-generated flight paths, then we did stuff with Zak meeting the fairies for the first time, him dancing on his walkman, we did the bad guy as a small glob oozing through the tree-cutting-machine, and I remember several scenes in the climax, like the scenes I animated (sticking very closely to Dan Kuenster's animation layouts) of Krista clutching the seed to her bosom, then flying off...

Looking in my calendar I see I animated 23 scenes between December 1990 and June 1991, and did corrective animation on four more scenes by others in that period.

Then, in September that year I visited the Ferngully studio in Van Nuys while spending time with Bill Kroyer in Burbank working on a combination hand-drawn, computer plotted and computer rendered/ray-traced commercial for Carlsberg Lemon that I directed. Bill suggested we show it in New York, as it was way ahead of the competition in quality, but it also ate all of our budget, so we could not spend more on marketing ourselves with it - typical, really.

Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 5:54:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Bob Cowan says...

- FernGully was popular at our house. I enjoyed the flying fairies at the beginning -- thanks for pointing it out!

- I wonder if the film would be more popular now that global ecology issues are more pressing. Or if the plight of the Rain Forrest is just as abstract today as it was then for the mainstream viewer....

Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 7:34:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Zartok-35 says...

Thanks for pointing out you're contributions, Mr. Perk. The scene with Hexxuse oozing around is my favorite part of the film!

Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 11:13:00 AM PST  

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