Simon Otto, the veteran Dreamworks animator and character designer, is directing his first feature. He will helm That Christmas, a holiday feature from London’s young Locksmith Animation.
The film, which is currently in development, is based on three Christmas children’s books written by British writer-director Richard Curtis (Love Actually). Set in a small English beach town, the narrative interweaves various stories from the book. Locksmith describes it as “Love Actually for kids.”
During his 21-year stint at Dreamworks, Otto played a key role on the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, serving as head of character animation (and winning a VES Award), and also as a designer and story artist; director Dean DeBlois described him as “like a co-director.” Otto has also directed episodes of series including Netflix’s Dragon — Race to the Edge and Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia, as well as the segment “The Tall Grass” in the streamer’s Love, Death & Robots, Volume 2.