On April 7th, 2016, The University of the Arts offered another installment of their School of Film Spotlight Series, this time featuring filmmaker Mark Osborne – and they graciously invited Philadelphia University students to attend!
Perhaps best known for directing the 2008 animated feature Kung Fu Panda, Mark Osborne began his career with impressive stop motion shorts, most notably his thesis film Greener, as a student at the California Institute of the Arts. He later went on to produce the short More, which earned Osborne his first Oscar nomination, and he even directed live-action sequences for Spongebob Squarepants.
At the University of the Arts on Thursday evening, Mr. Osborne gave a lecture on the long journey he took to create his new film The Little Prince, a combination 3D, hand-drawn, and stop motion animation based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic story, Le Petit Prince. Though technically an adaptation, Osborne’s film envelopes the tale of the Little Prince inside of an original narrative that focuses on a studious young girl as she forms an unlikely friendship with the wacky old man next door.
The film was finished in 2015 and screened at Cannes Film Festival. In his talk, Osborne spoke of the difficulties of getting the film distributed in the United States – it had already premiered in many places worldwide, such as France, Brazil, Japan and South Africa, among others. Fortunately, Netflix will be releasing the film through its online streaming service later this year.
Osborne also showed off the actual puppet of the Little Prince used in the film (well-protected behind glass) and a doll of the film’s Fox character.
In the second half of his talk, Osborne delved into his storytelling process, giving students an exclusive glimpse into the work behind Kung Fu Panda as an example. Students were also offered the chance to ask Osborne their animation and storytelling-related questions, providing a lot of great insight into the mind of an industry professional.