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The darling of the UK’s literary scene and nerd culture around the globe, Neil Gaiman’s creative output has touched the hearts and minds of people of all ages and interests. On April 5th, the Kickstarter for his newest project was launched, based on Gaiman’s poem In Relig Odhráin.

The poem has already been adapted once into a gorgeous but limited editon illustrated print by Michael Tulli, who created the artwork for Gaiman graphic novel series, Sandman. Otherwise, the poem is a relatively unknown piece, dwarfed by larger works that have garnered enormous cult followings, such as Coraline and Neverwhere.

Now, Gaiman will be working with director Jim Batt on an animated short film inspired by the poem, called The Grave of Saint Oran.

Batt’s last short film, I Have Your Heart, was also successfully crowdfunded. Backers were rewarded with a moving and finely crafted piece that played with fairytales and had a lot of the same dark humour that flows through Gaiman’s writing. Batt also directed the music video of Want It Back, by Amanda Palmer, punk cabaret singer and mother of Neil Gaiman’s youngest child, Ash.

The film is planned to be made in the same animation style as I Have Your Heart, using paper cutouts crafted and manipulated to create each individual frame. According the film’s website, it will have “minimal digital interference”.

The artwork for these pieces will be contributed by Swedish illustrator Ellen Barkin, whose flair for rich natural landscapes well lends itself to the Scottish setting of the original poem. This is accompanied by music from Jherek Bischoff, long term collaborator with Amanda Palmer. The film will be produced by Josie Hess, who describes her portfolio as “sometimes feminist porn, sometimes not porn”, which is about as accurate a description as there can be.

The characters have already been designed and the first cutouts are being made. The glimpses that have been offered on the Kickstarter page in the few short hours that it has been live are already striking. They lay the foundation for a truly beautiful film.

The project, still in its earliest infancy, already had almost 300 backers by the end of its first day, who together had raised nearly $15,000 of the $45,000 requested. To see it for yourself and to get a chance at some of their exclusive and amazing pledge prizes, see their Kickstarter.

Category: Film

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