Bill Joyce, children’s book illustrator and Moonbot Studio co-founder, is set to make his feature directorial debut with The Extincts, an adaptation of the middle-grade novel by Veronica Cossanteli.

Joyce has enjoyed an extensive career in animation, co-creating the cg preschool series Rolie Polie Olie and winning an Oscar for the animated short The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which he co-directed with Brandon Oldenburg. Dreamworks’ Rise of the Guardians, Blue Sky’s Epic, and Disney’s Meet the Robinsons are all based on his stories, and he also production designed Blue Sky’s Robots.

David Lipman, a producer on various movies in the Shrek franchise, will adapt The Extincts for the screen. He is also producing with Michael Siegel (executive producer, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Rise of the Guardians), while Jane Startz and Barry Cunningham will executive produce alongside Jim Pesoli and Karine Martin of Cirrina Studios.

The film marks the first animated feature from Cirrina Studios, a newly-formed entertainment finance, development, and production company. The firm has simultaneously established Cirrina Capital, an equity fund which invests in a portfolio of wholly-owned projects. The primary investors in Cirrina are Montreal-based Mediabiz and Diane Hendricks, a self-made billionaire who served as an economic advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and is among the top ten individual contributors to the Republican party.

Cossanteli’s original book follows the adventures of a boy, George Drake, who goes to work on a farm hidden deep in the woods where he discovers a hidden group of extinct and mythological creatures, one of which escapes and terrorizes the town in which he lives.

Pre-production on The Extincts will begin next month. The film will by produced by Olivier Pinol’s Dwarf Animation Studio, based in Montpellier, France, with a goal of 2019 release.

“Feature animation is one of the cornerstones of Cirrina Studios’ broad ambitions,” said Lipman, also president of production at Cirrina Studios. “I’m thrilled to partner with Olivier and Dwarf, we’ve assembled an unbelievably talented group of artists and technicians to make a ‘studio quality’ film with a unique look and global appeal.”

The Extincts.

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