Sheridan Graduate Directs and Co-Writes Major Animated Film, Opening Today
The Nut Job opens in theatres today – and behind it is Peter Lepeniotis, a 1992 graduate from Sheridan’s Classical Animation Program. Lepeniotis worked on other feature films like Toy Story 2 before creating his own animated short in 2005 called Surly Squirrel, upon which his new movie is based.
The Nut Job is a story about a belligerent squirrel that organizes a bank-style heist on a nut shop to help him atone for earlier evils. It features the likes of Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fraser. As Co-Writer, Lepeniotis had some clout in selecting the artists. “I thought we’d get some local Canadian talent and I’d have been happy with that as long as the story worked, but the guys at Toonbox kept saying let’s make this a big movie. I always envisioned Will Arnett as Surly. Thankfully when he read the script he said he loved it and that he wanted to be part of the film.”
In addition to Lepeniotis, two other Sheridan alumni, Daryl Graham and Morgan Ginsberg worked on the film as Director of Animation and Supervising Animator. “While I did the broad strokes, they took care of the details, helping to facilitate my vision and ensure that the animation was up to great standard” said Lepeniotis.
More of Lepeniotis’ favourite behind-the-scene moments on the making of the film can be found in this story: http://curiosities.sheridancollege.ca/surly-squirrels-rise-to-blockbuster-status/
Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design is the largest arts school in Canada and only the second in Canada to earn membership in the U.S.-based National Association of Schools of Arts and Design (NASAD). Its four-year Bachelor of Animation degree traditionally receives 800 applications from across Canada, the US, Korea, China, India and Brazil for 125 spaces each year. Another three, eight-month long post-graduate certificates are offered in computer animation, digital character animation, and digital visual effects. Sheridan is currently working on becoming Ontario’s first university that is exclusively dedicated to undergraduate applied and professional education. Under the new model, creativity will become a hallmark of a Sheridan education and students will have even more pathways to continue learning throughout their careers.