Frozen, Toy Story, Brave, The Lego Movie, Monsters Inc., and other animated movies have shown how animated feature films can achieve a new high level of quality.
Films with Jewish content have not been able to match the realistic animation of characters with the motion capture technology used in these Hollywood productions. Until now.
Now the Jewish world has its own Pixar-like production company. Yesterday they launched their first feature animated film, Megillas Lester, just in time for Purim.
As Alona Ferber wrote in Haaretz,
With Purim only a few weeks away, a new full-length feature animation takes the Book of Esther, Megillat Esther, and gives it a Back to the Future-meets-Pixar twist.
Megillas Lester, which will be out on iTunes, DVD and Blu-ray on March 3, tells the story of Doniel Lesterovitch or Lester, who gets knocked out while directing his school’s Purim play, and wakes up in the story that is traditionally read by Jews every year on the Purim holiday.
The Book of Esther tells the story of the Jewish queen of the Persian empire thwarting the plan of Haman, one of the king’s top advisers, to kill all the empire’s Jews. Lester puts a spanner in the works and alters the course of the story - it is up to him to get everything back on track so Esther can save the Jews.
The Purim story ends with Haman and his ten sons being put to death, and the reveling Jews massacring thousands of Persians. Although the real story is violent, given that the film portrays a ‘dream’ version, and the perceptions of a young boy, says its creator Chananya Kramer “the story is only exciting and fun, never scary or violent. We were quite selective as to which parts of the story we portrayed.”
The 42-year-old wrote, produced and directed the movie, which is primarily aimed at the Orthodox Jewish community. He came up with the story some 15 years ago, when he first got into the multi-media and video business with his Baltimore-based company, Kolrom.The video will be available through iTunes, and the DVD will be sold by ArtScroll.com and other Judaica sources. It costs about $25.
Here is the movie trailer, followed by a video about how the characters were created and animated.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)