Vanguard Films CEO John Williams has closed an overall producing-directing deal with Kung Fu Panda co-director John Stevenson.

The company announced it has also has formed a strategic alliance with former Lakeshore International president Peter Rogers’ new company Moviemill to arrange financing and distribution for the Vanguard slate, which encompasses CGI, live action and hybrids.

Stevenson’s first directing project under the deal will be the live action-CGI hybrid Alien Rock Band with musician Dave Stewart attached as producer. The story centres on a garage band that travels across the universe to compete in an intergalactic battle of the bands.

He will also direct Vanguard’s CG-animated Rotten Island, based on the book by Shrek author William Steig about an island where monsters reign free until a beautiful flower changes everything.

Among the titles that Williams and Stevenson will produce are Buzby, a high-speed animated rom-com starring fruit flies with Phil Robinson attached to direct; live-action martial arts tale City Of Dragons; and the live-action fantasy adventure Atomic Circus.

“I’m thrilled that Vanguard’s exciting new range of projects is attracting such top film-makers and business partners as John Stevenson and Peter Rogers,” Williams said.

“I have been attracted to the slate of existing and new ideas that are coming out of Vanguard,” Stevenson added. “I have had a great time working with John Williams and the gifted creative teams involved in these projects.” 

“Vanguard is particularly adept at painting a bull’s-eye on entertainment properties that resonate with global audiences,” Rogers said. “I can’t imagine a better pairing than the prowess of the Vanguard production team and the creative and technical firepower of a film-maker such as John Stevenson. They are a great match.”

Vanguard Films produced Space Chimps, Valiantand Happily N’ever After, as well as the live action films Seven Years In Tibet and The Tuxedo. On The Road, a collaboration with American Zoetrope directed by Walter Salles, has just wrapped principal photography. Rock ‘n’ roll comedy Vinyl is in post-production.