Director Robert Brousseau and the crew at Hyper Image, a post-production and animation company in Glendale, had just finished animating the TV show â€œStar Ship Troopers Chroniclesâ€ when they felt intrigued by a video game idea.
As time progressed, the game idea evolved into a possible series, but instead became a movie. The result is â€œRace,â€ the new computer-animated science-fiction action film that will be released on DVD by Phase 4 Films on May 25.
â€œIt's very satisfying for us to get a shelf space,â€ Brousseau said. â€œWe're hitting a market that hasn't been tapped into.â€
The 22-year Glendale resident said â€œSpeed Racerâ€ and â€œDays of Thunderâ€ were influences for the PG-13-rated movie.
Teenage boys are the target audience.
Brousseau is the Emmy-nominated director for the TV series â€œSherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century.â€
â€œRaceâ€ is about an inter-planetary race where the winner's planet takes control of the universe for a year.
There are many different factors involved in getting distribution.
â€œTypically, when looking to acquire a film, we want something that's gonna workâ€¦ [We] work with the sales team to identify what kind of genres work for us,â€ said Jennifer Ansley, vice president of marketing for Phase 4 Films.
â€œThe genre is fascinatingâ€¦ [It's a] story that revolves around outcasts,â€ said James Hereth, who is the film's picture editor.
The eight-year Glendale resident said he identifies â€œwith the underdog and taking on much bigger things, which is a universal thing. I like the universal notion. It's like David and Goliath.â€
The main focus is between Team Earth and Team Tagmatian in the Star Car 5000 championship â€” a fight between good and evil.
They compete for control of jumpgatesâ€”shortcuts through space that control commerce.
The jumpgates were used for military bases and caused conflict and war.
Thus the competition was created to bring unity.
Hereth is also the voice of the main and several supporting characters.
Brousseau said the independently financed film took four to five years to produce with eight artists at any one time.
Freelance art director Scott Heming, who worked on the film, said the story is â€œneatâ€ because it has lots of different worlds and styles of characters.
â€œIt's almost like talking with animals and making them talk and function with humans. All have a say so in how the world is run,â€ Heming said.
The lesson that anyone can learn from this film, â€œperseverance, being true to your friends and not necessarily taking the easy way out,â€ Heming said. â€œJust because something is hard, it doesn't mean it's not worth doing.â€
The DVD will include an audio commentary track, film and pre-production stills, a teaser and two domestic trailers.
â€œPeople should take a chance on it because it's a fun movie to watch,â€ Brousseau said.