Director Pete Dodd will pitch “King of the Swamp” at Bordeaux’s Cartoon Movie, kicking off March 5.
A 3D CGI comedy-adventurer, “King of the Swamp” follows Clive, a bad-tempered but endearing old Swamp Monster, in a place where Fairy Tale creatures live under human rules, expected to ignore the abilities that make them different. Along with Sam, a misguided fairy boy and Daisy, a human girl, the reluctant Swamp Monster hero becomes embroiled in a plan to replace humans as the dominant species.
“King of the Swamp” is produced by Dodd’s U.K.-based Mummysboy Ltd., and budgeted at $9 million. It will be Dodd’s second animated feature after 2011’s “Freddy Frogface.”
“This is an original story inspired by watching how children play, fantastically unprejudiced, naturally mixing all sorts of characters that ‘don’t fit’ with one other. There’s a kind of magic in not‘knowing any better which I think is very compelling,” Dodd explained to Variety.
He continued, “We have a recognizable world with humans, supermarkets, schools and apartments, but also there are dragons, trolls and unicorns, all mixed up together, which makes for a lot of fun. The story follows a grumpy Swamp Monster, but the core of it is about dealing with difference, and showing that differences are nothing to be afraid of.”
Dodd’s other credits include lead animator on Tim Burton’s “Corpse Bride,” and “Frankenweenie,” Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Sam Fell and Robert Stevenhagen’s “The Tale of Despereaux,” and recently BBC/Netflix-produced “Watership Down,” among others. He is represented by Eddie Gamarra at the Gotham Group in LA.
According to Dodd, he is largely drawn to strong character stories and individual journeys, and projects with defined clarity in terms of its tone and overall vision.
“There’s a real strength in the way that animation storytelling gives you a few degrees of separation from reality. This allows the audience to connect with characters and story in a more direct way than most other mediums,” he said, adding that he would love to really stretch reality and mix live action and animation so they are indistinguishable at some point in the future.