BREAKING: Former Pixar director Rob Gibbs to helm 3D animated feature HUMP

June 21, 2016

In the wake of this year's Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Berlin-based production house MovieBrats Pictures anounces that its 3D animated desert adventure HUMP will be directed by former Pixar director Rob Gibbs from a script by Sundance Film Festival Award winner Amin Matalqa and Matthew Antonelli.

Production is slated to begin in late spring 2017, with Alexander Weimer and Esther Friedrich of MovieBrats Pictures producing alongside Matalqa and former Pixar story manager Ryan Lynch (Brave), in co-production with Eric Goossens of Belgium-based animation studio Walking The Dog. Grammy-nominated/BAFTA-winning composer Austin Wintory (Journey) is providing the songs and score.

HUMP was first presented in 2015 at Cartoon Movie in Lyon and tells the adventurous story of a clumsy camel, Rami, who sets out on an epic journey to find his best friend, a Bedouin boy named Omar. Joined by a cunning desert fox claiming to be a prince and a mistrusting goat, the trio must endure each other’s company while crossing the harsh Arabian desert, where dangers loom around every corner.

"It’s a great script about a journey of characters stuck together across the expansive desert with wonderful emotional bonds that any audience can relate to. The touching ending is so satisfying you’ll want to see it again and again," says Gibbs.

"We are very thrilled to have J.G. at the helm. With his longstanding experience in universal storytelling he is the right one to make sure that audiences around the globe respond equally to the adventure of Rami and his friends," adds producer Alexander Weimer.

Co-writer Matalqa says of the inspiration to write HUMP: "In a time where the world has grown to perceive the Middle East as a culture of anger, hate, and violence, I've strived to use the medium of animated film to show the gentle human side of that world where I grew up, and create cultural bridges between East and West. The power of entertainment through animation couldn't be more timely."

Director Rob Gibbs started out at Disney with story and writing duties on such classics as Pocahontas and Fantasia 2000, before he went on to work for Pixar Animation Studios where he was a story artist on Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and Up, among others. He went into directing with the Cars tie-in short Tokyo Mater and later directed and co-directed numerous episodes of the Pixar-produced tv shows Mater's Tall Tales and Tales From Radiator Springs. HUMP will mark his feature directing debut.

Co-writer and producer Amin Matalqa is the writer-director behind Sundance Audience Award winning live action feature Captain Abu Raed. Matalqa went on to direct The United for Walt Disney Pictures and just recently finished his fourth feature film as director, The Rendezvous, starring Stana Katic (from ABC's The Castle), set for a US release later this year.

MovieBrats Pictures' previous and current titles include the German-language mystery thriller LOST PLACE 3D and the Russian-French-German co-production of the supernatural drama ZOOLOGY that will have its world premiere at Karlovy Vary Film Festival in July. Other current international projects include the horror thriller DARK COMPASS and the Chinese animated feature THE DUMPLING QUEEN. MovieBrats Pictures is headquartered in Berlin where it also runs an affiliate animation and visual effects house, MovieBrats Studios.