Posted: June 30, 2014, 4:10 p.m. EDT
What’s been missing from all the Christmas movies lo these many years? Ferrets, of course. At least that is what director Alison Parker believes, and she’s about to remedy the situation with an upcoming ferret Christmas movie titled Santa’s Little Ferrets. It focuses on a family during Christmas Eve. The three children are too excited to sleep, so their father tells them the tale of Santa’s little ferrets, who accompany Santa on his annual trip to ensure no one sees him in action. But that’s just the start of the fun. The movie summary states: "On this particular night the unexpected happens, and the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. Suddenly, the ferrets’ entire security operation is in jeopardy.”
Santa’s Little Ferrets is written by Scott and Paula Merrow, the same writing team behind last year’s short film The Magic Ferret, which Parker directed. How did Santa’s Little Ferrets come about? Parker said she really wanted to make a Christmas movie, so she asked the Merrows.
"They are such great writers and we've had so much success with The Magic Ferret, so I was ecstatic when they agreed!” Parker said. "I came up with the title Santa's Little Ferrets, and then they came up with the story.”
One major difference between this film and Parker’s previous ferret films (The Magic Ferret and Jake And Jasper: A Ferret Tale) is that it includes not one but three ferret roles. To fill those roles, Parker is relying on animal wrangler Cherie Smid to train seven Marshall ferrets that live with her. Their names are Krusty, Booger, Snot, Squishy, Spud, Pretzel and Falafel. Parker said that four of the ferrets are being trained on "staying,” which is mainly standing still or looking at the camera. The other three ferrets are being trained on behaviors like running up stairs or jumping on couches.
Also in the mix for this movie is another animal, namely, a Chihuahua named Rumble who will be playing the role of Fang the Chihuahua. "There are no other animals besides the ferrets and the dog,” Parker said. "I think that's enough for now.”
But the movie will not rely solely on the cuteness of the ferrets. Parker has some pretty hefty acting talent lined up. The Collins’ family children are being played by three Tremblay siblings: Emma, Jacob and Erica. All have acting experience, and Jacob starred in The Magic Ferret. The parents are played by Adam Korson and Lisa Durupt, both with impressive acting credits, plus Durupt starred in The Magic Ferret.
Pre-production for the movie is well under way, and filming starts soon. "We go to camera July 24th and film for seven days in a row,” Parker said. "On four of those dates, only ferrets will be on set — no human actors. There is more ferret action in this movie than any of my previous films. It's going to be very challenging, that's for sure! We will be filming in a beautiful house in North Vancouver, British Columbia.”
Parker has already received items to use in the movie from the following sponsors: Hasbro, Ty Inc., Crayola, Defenders of Wildlife and Marshall Pet Products.
Santa's Little Ferrets will first be released on DVD and then make the film festival circuit.
Another big difference between this movie and Parker’s last two ferret movies is the money involved. "The budget for this film is much larger than any of my previous films. Raising $10,000 to $15,000 on IndieGoGo would not be enough,” Parker said. "The Magic Ferret was a two-day shoot. This is a seven-day shoot, with multiple ferrets requiring weeks of training. We've got a top-notch creative agency, digital media strategists. We're also going to be producing merchandise. It's big.”
Because of the larger budget, this was the first time Parker offered people a chance to become investors and get a small percent of any profits. And she reached her investor goal. She added that a big advantage to having the investor money is that it takes away the worry about whether there will be enough money to make the film. But more is needed to market and distribute it so that it is a success. To that end, Parker is again turning to crowdfunding through IndieGoGo.
The IndieGoGo campaign for Santa’s Little Ferrets launched today, June 30, 2014, with a goal of $15,000. In it Parker details exactly where the money will be spent. The campaign runs for 46 more days. Funders can choose from 13 levels of donation, ranging from $5 to $4,500, with the perks to go with them getting more impressive the larger the donation. Perks include a PDF of the shooting script, online access to the movie before it reaches DVD, an autographed copy of DVD and many more.
Santa’s Little Ferrets will have a running length of 22 minutes without commercials. Parker plans for it to be released on DVD first and then make the rounds of film festivals. "It's possible it will make it to broadcast TV for Christmas 2014, but because most networks are already buying their programs now, we probably won't make it in time for this year,” Parker said. "In 2015, we will release it on Video on Demand, iTunes, Netflix, etc. Stay tuned for TV networks and regions, as we won't know until after the film is completed.”
The fun won’t stop with the movie, as Parker also plans to have stuffed toy ferrets for sale on the soon-to-be-launched Santa’s Little Ferrets website. She believes these will be available for Christmas 2014. And film is not the only media Parker sees for the future of Santa’s Little Ferrets. "I want to turn Santa's Little Ferrets into a children's picture book! It's a wonderful story, I think kids would love it. Hopefully this is something I can make happen a little further down the line.”
Updates on the progress of Santa’s Little Ferrets can be seen on its Twitter and Facebook pages.
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