SC FIlms International chief Simon Crowe will commence sales at the AFM next week on the story of a plucky bid by forest animals to raid a packaging plant’s nut supplies.

Ross Venokur will make his feature directorial debut alongside John Rice based on Venokur’s original script. Pre-vis is underway and production is scheduled to kick off in January 2012.

Vanguard Animation chief John Williams will produce alongside Kung Fu Panda co-director John Stevenson and Arc Productions, the Toronto-based studio behind Gnomeo & Juliet and formerly known as Starz Animation.

“Ross Venokur has written a terrific script which we think can be the foundation of a new animated film franchise,” Williams said.

“We are investors, producers and partners in this film,” Arc president and COO Jeff Young, who serves as an executive producer on the film, said. “We’re thrilled to be working with such impressive and creative filmmakers as John Williams, Ross Venokur, John Rice, and John Stevenson.

“Vanguard, Arc, and SC Films bring extensive credits and expertise to the venture and together we will make The Nut House a first-rate animated film with worldwide franchise appeal.”  

“International audiences relish this kind of story,” SC Films International’s Crowe said. “The global marketplace for well-executed CG films rendered beautifully in 3D is thriving and our cast of original and fun characters married to such an entertaining narrative will make this film the perfect candidate for big box office success.”   

Geneva Wasserman, an intellectual property attorney and longtime licensing executive in feature animation, is also serving as executive producer and will mount a worldwide licensing and merchandising campaign.