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Kenneth Oppel website

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Canadian author Kenneth Oppel, author of Silverwing and Sunwing, has a rather interesting and well done website about these and his other works.

A couple of items that I thought were of particular interest. One is a gallery of images from Silverwing from several different sources. The other is that the third book in this series, Firewing, will be released this month in Canada and later this year in several other countries, though not in the USA until spring 2003 (of course, there's nothing to prevent impatient American fans from ordering through a Canadian bookseller such as Chapters Indigo).

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Most of these images are concept and storyboard art from Character Builders, an animation studio in Columbus Ohio, which spent several years developing Silverwing as an animated feature. They sold the rights to Bardel Animation in Vancouver in 2000, who have continued development of the film and hope to bring it to theatres in 2003, with Sunwing being developed for 2005.

I had the opportunity to visit Bardel last year and view the working storyboard and character art for the proposed feature. There's terrific work being done on it, and it'll make a unique and lovely film if they're able to complete it. But the animation industry's been hit hard by the economy, and traditional cel animation isn't too popular right now, so it might take awhile.

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Whoa! I had no idea there was a movie version in production. I just hope they don't dumb it down for kid appeal (the bane of too many animated furry films).

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When I visited the animation studio in February 2001, they were still hashing out the storyboard and character designs...I seriously doubt if it's even made it to rough animation yet. The studio, Bardel, is an 'outsourcing' studio for DreamWorks Animation...they animated "Joseph, Prince of Dreams" and a lot of "El Dorado" ("Spirit", too, most likely). They're working on "Silverwing" in between paying projects.

As far as dumbing it down, it seemed like they had a lot of respect for the book. They were looking for bat experts to consult on the film, and told me that their biggest challenge was visualizing the bats' echolocation. The art I saw used hazy thought-bubbles to show what the bats saw when they used their sonar, or their 'maps'.

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