2015 is starting incredibly well, I am currently signing on some very exciting projects and we started it off with an incredible news: Polarrifc, the latest Hallmark Channel animated special I scored for the holidays was nominated at the prestigious Annie Awards — the highest recognition in the world for animation!
In Chel White’s own words, here is what Polariffic is about:
“Taking place in the North Pole, “Polariffic” is a story about a foursome of Arctic friends that takes a journey from fear to friendship. Snowby a gentle polar bear, Jaz a be-bopping penguin, Flitter a light-on-her-feet artic fox and Cupcake a thoughtful baby seal are the best of friends, until one day they encounter Charlie, a young Yeti who tries to befriend them. At first terrified, the four friends find themselves face-to-face with the Yeti and must muster the courage to trust him in order to save themselves. In the end the gang learns appearances aren’t always what they seem.
Our little film was nominated for BEST ANIMATED SPECIAL PRODUCTION. And the other contenders for the prize were pretty huge, no less than DreamWorks Animation with “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey,” Pixar Animation’s “Toy Story” and Universal Television’s “How Murray Saved Christmas.”
Unfortunately for us, “Cosmos: A Space Odyssey” won the award. But it’s ok, because we love Cosmos. Such a great show. I had the pleasure to attend the VIP Red Carpet event with my beautiful wife Jennifer and with Polariffic’s director Rob Shaw and my dear friend — director and owner of the animation studios Bent Image Lab — Chel White.
Even though I have been working with Rob Shaw for at least the past 2 years, it was the first time that we were meeting in person. And I haven’t seen Chel since him and I worked on Jingle & Bell’s Christmas Star. It was great to spend time all together.
The Red Carpet was very impressive of course, legend of animation were present, as well as legendary Disney’s composer Richard Sherman, who is probably one of the sweetest person on earth! I also had the pleasure to meet Jen Rarey from Hallmark who produced Polariffic.
Scoring Polariffic was an amazing experience. The film is probably the cutest thing I have ever seen on screen. The animation is so well done and director Rob Shaw had some great ideas for the score. I also had the pleasure to have my first collaboration with one of the best session guitarist in Los Angeles, Michael Ripoll. Michael has done some extensive work for composer John Powell (Bourne Identity, Rio, How to Train Your Dragon…) and working with him was one of the most amazing experience I’ve had. And here’s a hint: I’m working again with Michael on another project (more to come soon!)
The fun thing about Polariffic, is that the film is supposed to be part of Hallmark’s main holiday feature film, which is called Northpole. In the story of Northpole, there is an animated TV series that everyone is fond of, and it’s called Polariffic. In the film, you get to see only 30 seconds of it. But then the full episode, which I worked on, is available as a bonus on Northpole’s DVD or on the Hallmark Channel website.
If you get a chance, you can watch the full short film on the Hallmark Channel’s website, here:
Polariffic on The Hallmark Channel
Everyone really liked the score and thought it was amazing. I was very happy we managed to convey Rob’s vision through music. I even ended up whistling in the end credits theme 🙂
For the score Rob wanted something not too orchestral, trying to step away from the Disney style. That’s how we ended up with Mandolin, Mandola, Ukulele (yup, for a Christmas movie… that’s right) all sorts of guitars and electric basses. Trombone, fiddle, flutes and voila! The recipe for quite an original score.
The wonderful Royce Hall at UCLA was a full house. The ceremony was also on TV and people were able to stream it live online. Chel, Rob, Jennifer and I were sitting right in the middle of the Disney people. Which was quite fun 🙂
The ceremony had the particularity this year of not having a host, instead, we had a series of people presenting each category of awards. We were very well treated and the animation community is warm and welcoming. A big thank you goes to the IAFS-Hollywood for all the attention and care they put into this event. The food was delicious and the staff charming.
All that to say, see you next year the Annie’s! I certainly look forward to attend once again, and who knows, maybe this time we will win that beautiful statuette!