A director known for excellence in live-action, between the high-budgeted The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the charming indie Son of Rambow, Garth Jennings’ debut animated feature Sing bowed as a work in progress at TIFF this week, complete with a concert performance by Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly. Sing stars Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, a koala bringing new business to his theater by hosting a singing competition involving his other animal friends, in a novel, family-friendly take on the showbiz tale.

Starring alongside McConaughey in the musical celebration are Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton and Seth MacFarlane, among other A-listers. The film is produced by Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures.

In the Deadline video exclusive above, Jennings and Meledandri discuss the genesis of the project in an original idea from the Illumination CEO, the thematic underpinnings of the story based in the entertainment world, and the act of creating something out of nothing. Additionally, Jennings delves into the learning curve of entering a new domain, in directing his first animated feature.

Videos produced by Neil Hansen/Route Eleven, camera work by Meaghan Gable and Ida Jokinen. Special thanks to Image Skin Care CanadaCalii LoveCommune, Dan Gunam, and Silverline Studios.