With standout performances from up-and-comers, Shellfish is “Delightfully Original,” said Jeff Annison, President of Legion M Entertainment. It’s heartfelt and funny, with a twist of stop-motion animation.
Plot: A stop-motion animator has a week to make a film with his dumbstruck brother and the girl of his dreams without his parents finding out. As their shoot unravels, he must face his own selfishness and decide which is more important: his filmmaking or close relationships.
Shellfish pulls people in with a light, comedic tone, and without pretension, important lessons are woven throughout. The animation and comedy convey that the film never takes itself too seriously, but it also doesn’t shy away from going a little deeper into weightier themes. The story is relatable to most artists who have grappled with similar balancing acts, and also surprisingly touches on subjects like parenthood, maturity, sibling rivalry, commitment, death, and of course, selfishness.
Keller, the protagonist, takes up stop motion after a traumatic event impacts him and especially his younger brother Bailey; consequentially, intense emotions are visually depicted and dramatized through animation. “Shellfish was highly influenced by other coming-of-age films like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and especially when it comes to its animated mix, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,” said Writer/Director Hunter Hopewell.
Assuming its modest indie budget, audiences have been pleasantly surprised by the film’s visually cinematic presentation, frequent changes of scenery, remarkable music integration, and engaging narrative. The film has a youthful energy to it, as the team behind Shellfish was inspired and determined to make the most out of their one-of-a-kind opportunity to fully develop their first feature film.
Shellfish was initially funded with a $25K grant from Brenden Theater’s CEO, Johnny Brenden, awarded by UNLV. It was completed with ongoing support from many “unshellfish” contributors and collaborators. After many test screenings and tweaks, Shellfish premiered at the Dances with Films Festival at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, once owned by Johnny Brenden’s grandfather, Ted Mann.
Now, Shellfish can be rented or purchased on most VOD platforms, (iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, DirecTV, YouTube Movies, XBox, and more) distributed by Freestyle Digital Media.
“Shellfish was a labor of love by a lot of talented filmmakers who I’m proud to call my friends,” said Hunter. “We put every bit of creativity we could muster into this project, and I believe you can feel the camaraderie, synergy, and fun we had on set in the final cut. After five years of poring over every frame, I feel gratified by the positive reviews and reactions we’ve received from critics and audiences. I’m delighted that finally, everyone will be able to enjoy our little film that could.”