EXCLUSIVE: XYZ Films and Rick and Morty producer Starburns Industries are teaming to produce Welcome to My Daydream, a biographical feature-length documentary about Oscar-winning stop-motion animation icon Will Vinton. Marq Evans (The Glamour & the Squalor) is set to direct, with XYZ handling worldwide sales.
The docu will feature new original claymation scenes using characters Vinton helped design before his death in October.
Vinton won the Oscar for Animated Short in 1975 with Bob Gardiner for Closed Mondays, the first of four noms in the category. He also was co-nominated for the visual effects in Walter Murch’s Return to Oz in 1986. Vinton’s creations hit the mainstream thanks to advertising campaigns led by the Marvin Gaye-signing California Raisins and Domino’s Pizza’s Noid. His Portland-based Will Vinton Studios eventually was acquired by Nike’s Phil Knight and morphed into Laika, the stop-motion studio headed by Travis Knight that has carried on the claymation tradition with pics including Oscar noms for Coraline, Paranorman, The Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings.
The pic comes as XYZ readies its latest documentary project Framing John Delorean, a hybrid pic that stars Alec Baldwin as the iconic automaker. It bows at the Tribeca Film Festival next month and hits theaters June 7 via IFC Films. Its docu Electric Boogaloo: The Wild and Untold Story of Cannon Films bowed last fall at Toronto.
Starburns, co-founded by Dan Harmon, Dino Stamatopoulos, Duke Johnson and James A. Fino, was also behind the 2016 Oscar-nominated stop-motion pic Anomalisa co-directed by Johnson and Charlie Kaufman.
“We’re so happy to be working with this team to bring Will’s story to the screen,’ XYZ said. “We knew Marq was the real deal after watching The Glamour and the Squalor and we’ve been looking for the right project to do with Starburns. This came together very organically.”
Said Starburns: “We’re honored to help share the story of a trailblazer in the world of stop-motion animation, whose influence on pop culture is undeniable and without whom the medium would not be what it is today.”
Evans recently produced and edited the upcoming Cup of Cool Water, shot over nine years following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He has also produced content for the Smithsonian Institute, the U.S. Navy and the Global Initiative.
“As fans of both companies long before having this chance to work with them, I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with XYZ Films and Starburns Industries. We have ambitious ideas for this film, and I couldn’t think of two better companies to partner with to help execute our vision,” he said.