Pencilish Pencilish

Indie animation label Pencilish Studios has been commissioned to provide global leadership of the animation for the Salvation Poem Project (SP) on a new, untitled 2d animated feature described as “a creative retelling of the life of Jesus.” Epipheo Films is heading up the development and production while the search for a 2d animation studio is ongoing.

The companies have shared and exclusive first-look image with Cartoon Brew, seen below.

Pencilish Exclusive Image

Project details:

  • Pencilish is a Nashville-based indie studio that has always produced its own original content exclusively via crowdfunding. The studio is headed by longtime Disney feature animation vet and former Veggietales animator Tom Bancroft (lead animator of Mulan’s Mushu).
  • The new feature is Pencilish’s first contract work and will be directed by John J. Schafer, a former series producer and global brand manager for Superbook at the Christian Broadcasting Network. Bancroft will co-direct and Pencilish’s Pam Darley is associate producing.
  • The film has a $20 million budget from the Salvation Poem Project, an international media company focusing on Christian content that will also handle distribution. SP president Brennan McPherson is leading the film’s screenwriting team.
  • SP has tagged Cincinnati-based Epipheo Films as the production hub for the film, handling visual development, storyboarding, editing, script support, and postproduction. SP and Epipheo are currently looking for a 2d animation studio to handle the film’s animation. Daniel Armstrong, Epipheo’s head of design, is producing and Luke Lehenbauer, senior art director at Epipheo, heads the art department as production designer.
  • The film will be translated into more than 50 languages and distributed globally through a network of nonprofits and streaming platforms after its theatrical run, scheduled for 2025.
  • In a release, Bancroft explained why his studio decided to take on its first commission, saying: “While this film wasn’t the initial goal for Pencilish, we are excited to expand into 2d feature film work as we grow our studio. We will continue to create our own intellectual properties and develop partnerships with our established IPs on our Pencilish Studios YouTube Channel, but this feature film will expand our abilities and knowledge base for future Pencilish feature films to come.”