“Animation in Australia is actually a mixed bag,” according to Kristen Souvlis, co-founder of Australian animation studio Like a Photon Creative.
Souvlis and her partner in crime, co-founder Nadine Bates, have been creating some of the world’s best children’s entertainment for the past seven years.
“We love operating in innovative models and finding new ways to engage with our growing audience,” Bates explains.
Despite their success, they do recognise the difficulty of being an animation company in Australia, as noted by Souvlis: “On one hand, there are some sensational shows coming out of this country, but it’s not easy to compete with the cost of labour in countries such as India or Eastern Europe.”
That hasn’t stopped their studio producing high-quality animation and launching animated franchise Tales from Sanctuary City.
“It is an incredible opportunity for us to create an entire universe that is entirely populated by animals,” Souvlis tells.
The first feature film to come out in this franchise is The Wishmas Tree, which will be released on February 27 before Bates and Souvlis appear at Supanova Melbourne and Gold Coast.
“The genesis for this story was definitely about our environment and the fragility of the ecological balance we’re witnessing,” Nadine notes. “It’s about taking responsibility for your mistakes and for helping to fix difficult situations.”
The Wishmas Tree follows the story of a young ringtail possum named Kerry (voiced by Miranda Tapsell). Kerry makes a wish for a white Wishmas that in turns freezes her entire hometown of Sanctuary City and threatens the lives of the animals living there. To reverse her mistake, and before the Wishmas tree dies, Kerry journeys into The Wild along with her sister, Petra (Kate Murphy) and an eccentric frill-necked lizard named Yarra (Ross Noble).
“We hope that it’ll spark conversation in families about accepting responsibility for your actions, about caring for those less fortunate than yourself and about how precious our environment is,” Souvlis says.
Following on from The Wishmas Tree will be two more films in this franchise: Combat Wombat and Daisy Quokka: World’s Scariest Animal, which are currently expected to release in cinemas in late 2020 or early 2021.
“They are exceptional in the sense that we get to showcase and celebrate the uniqueness of the Australian fauna and craft some phenomenal stories around their innate differences to other animals around the world,” Souvlis says.
The Wishmas Tree releases in cinemas on February 27. Don’t miss out on the chance to meet Nadine Bates and Kristen Souvlis at Supanova, this March!
“As true fangirls, we can’t wait to attend Supanova! We’re already planning our cosplay outfits!” Bates declares.