In 2010 Ronald Searle, the creator of the anarchic St. Trinian's school girls, granted me permission to make an animated film with his iconic characters. I had shown him a short animation test and he was so impressed that he gave me 'carte blanche' to develop a story based on his cartoons, as long as it would stay true to his original vision and, very important to Ronald and myself, his vivid graphic style.
The promise to Ronald was to create a fully animated film in the classical sense, hand-drawn, with pen and ink, and not a single wacom pen in sight.
It has been my mission since to raise the finance for a half hour featurette and whilst following the traditional route I quickly learned that Ronald's unique sense of humor, even though loved by everybody, does not comply with wholesome family viewing guidelines of today. Here is why; a fitting quote from one of the St. Trinian's books:
"Drinking, smoking, violence, drugs, amateur torture and foul play have been on the curriculum at St. Trinian's school for Young Ladies since 1946, and show no signs of abating. Since the first drawing of the conditions at Britain's most famous school appeared, Ronald Searle's anarchic scenes from this nightmarish institution have caused international concern and merriment."
Many well-meaning voices have suggested that unless I clean up the murderous school girls' act, this film might never get made. But please, you can't be serious (excuse the shouting). If you take away the essence of what makes St. Trinian's what it is, you end up with...well...not St. Trinian's.
Ronald has in the meantime sadly passed away. I think often about the times when my friend Matt Jones (without whom I would have never met Ronald) and I would visit the master and his wife Monica in the South of France. I am more determined than ever to fulfill my promise. Ronald Searle was one of the most influential graphic artists of the 20th century and this film needs to be made, in his honor and to celebrate his memory. I mean that.
Luckily, today there are alternative ways of raising finance and to that very end we will start a "KICKSTARTER" campaign in the next few months. Producer Jamie K. Bolio will be organizing it from Los Angeles but the production of the film will take place at Uli Meyer Studios in London, UK.
With the help and support of all fans of Ronald Searle, classical, hand-drawn full-animation and spine-chilling humor, we hope to get this film started.
Please, spread the word and do come back here frequently for further harrowing updates.