EXCLUSIVE: Shudder has locked down rights to the critically acclaimed feature Mad God, directed by two-time Academy Award-winning artist, animator and filmmaker Phil Tippett. The experimental animated project 30 years in the making will hit limited theaters and debut on AMC Network’s premium service for genre fare on June 16.
In Mad God, a corroded diving bell descends amidst a ruined city, with an Assassin emerging from it to explore a labyrinth of bizarre landscapes inhabited by freakish denizens. The inspiration for the film came to Tippett, whose VFX work can be seen in such legendary films as Star Wars, RoboCop and Starship Troopers, during a lull in his schedule following RoboCop 2.
After sketching and designing a few creatures and sets, he and his stage and stop-motion team at Tippett Studio shot the film’s first few scenes, then suspending work on the project to focus on creating the groundbreaking effects for Jurassic Park. Some 20 years later, several of Tippett’s key artists and supervisors stumbled across original puppets and sets from those early shots. Revisiting the original footage and models, this new generation of artists, trained primarily on computers, longed to learn from Tippett and assist as he revived his long-since abandoned film.
Together with a volunteer crew, Tippett taught a new generation of artists and craftspeople as they brought his labor of love to life. Partially funded by legions of backers on Kickstarter, the first few parts of the film were made over months and years supported by the crowdfunding platform. In exchange, backers were granted early access to the footage, in addition to souvenirs from the making of each chapter. Tippett completed the final scenes while the world sheltered through a global pandemic, in 2020.
Mad God made its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and was subsequently showcased at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Fantasia Film Festival and Sitges Film Festival, among others. Tippett wrote the script and produced the film, with Sanjay Das, Colin Geddes, Katarina Gligorijevic, Gary Mundell, Jules Roman and Joshua Sobel exec producing, and Jack Morrissey serving as co-producer.
“In short, Phil Tippett is a genius, and there’s no better home for him and his visionary mind than Shudder,” said the streamer’s general manager, Craig Engler. “We’re proud to bring this sure-to-be timeless film to our members.”
“It’s been over 30 years, but thanks to the team at Tippett Studio we finally made the dream a reality,” added Tippett. “I’m proud to partner with Shudder on the release of Mad God, and it’s an honor that my original vision can now be shared with audiences across the country.”
Other recent projects from Tippett’s full-service animation and visual effects production company, Tippett Studio, include The Book of Boba Fett and the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, the second season of Netflix’s Locke & Key, and Marvel Studio’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Projects currently in the works include the long-awaited third season of The Orville, Black Adam and Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. While moving recently into content production for themed entertainment and partnering with assorted international brands, it has also rolled out a series of NFTs based on Tippett’s portfolio of artwork on his SuperRare profile page.
Emily Gotto brokered the deal for Mad God on behalf of Shudder, with Peter Kaufman of Kaufman Abdel-Aal LLP on behalf of Tippett Studio.
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