Nine years ago, Nashville musician and author Andrew Peterson published the first fiction novel of his acclaimed series The Wingfeather Saga. Now, the series is making its way to the silver screen, with an animated short premiering at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre November 2.
"Of course, like any sensible author, I daydreamed about how cool it would be to see these characters and settings with my own eyes," Peterson said. "But, more than ten years later, to be a part of something like this--well, I guess you could say it's a daydream come true. The ten-year-old boy in me is flipping out."
A fantasy-adventure series for all ages, The Wingfeather Saga chronicles the heroic journey of young protagonist Janner Igiby and his siblings. Random House's Waterbrook imprint published the first two books, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten; Rabbit Room Press published the final two, The Monster in the Hollows and The Warden and the Wolf King. To date, the series has sold over 100,000 copies and won various awards, including the 2010 Christy Award for Young Adult Fiction and the 2015 Clive Staples Award for Fantasy Fiction, among others.
In 2016, after years of expressed interest from readers and fans, Peterson answered the call to create an animated version of his tales. He partnered with VeggieTales producer J. Chris Wall to create Shining Isle Productions, and their first undertaking was to raise funds for a Wingfeather short film. They reached their initial Kickstarter campaign goal of $110,000 within 48 hours; in one month's time, over 3,000 people from over 10 countries donated $265,880 total. This landmark achievement puts The Wingfeather Saga in the Top 50 of the thousands of film and video projects submitted to Kickstarter.
Peterson and Wall put together an all-star animation team, including veteran director Tom Owens (How To Train Your Dragon series), CGI visual development expert Keith Lango (Valve -- Portal 2), and acclaimed production designer Nicholas Kole (Disney, Hasbro). Turning pages of words into scenes of animation, they've crafted a 15-minute short that introduces the series.
The November 2 premiere will offer media executives and certain backers of the film's Kickstarter campaign the opportunity to watch the short film, along with live musical performances from Peterson and local band The Arcadian Wild, who has a song featured in the film. The creative team will also hold a panel discussion. Additionally, they'll host the same event on November 3 at Lipscomb University, for more campaign supporters and students/faculty.
"It's been two years since we started this film," Wall said, "and it's beyond satisfying to finally get to share our vision with the fans and supporters who helped make this possible. I couldn't be prouder of our team, who worked incredibly hard to make something so beautiful."
The Wingfeather creators are excited not only to show fans the finished product, but to see where it goes from here. They are pitching the project to film and television outlets, hoping to provide the series' vast fanbase the opportunity to experience The Wingfeather Saga's full story on screen.