By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com February 27 2013 8:58 PM ET
Losing the Oscar (as wrong as it was) hasn't stopped the creators of ParaNorman. Right now the gay writer-director Chris Bull, director Sam Fell, and their teams at LAIKA and Focus Features are auctioning off a rare movie prop from the film at ProfilesinHistory.com. ParaNorman, which lost the best animated feature Oscar to Brave, was about a boy who talked to ghosts, battled bullies, and found his niche. It also featured the first out gay character in a mainstream American animated film. In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation world’s equivalent of an Oscar) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics’ groups — more than any other 2012 animated feature.
Animation buffs, movie fans, and memorabilia collectors have coveted the film's hand-crafted props from LAIKA. This one is for the Blithe Hollow witch statue, and proceedds from its sale will benefit Variety: The Children’s Charity of Southern California, an LGBT-friendly group made up prmiarily of men and women primarily in the entertainment industry who are dedicated to providing lifesaving support for disabled, abused, physically-challenged, and underprivileged children.
The auction, which began last Friday and ends Monday, March 4, includes a letter of authenticity from LAIKA’s studios in Oregon, where the stop-motion-animated feature was hand-crafted. In the movie, 11-year-old outcast Norman lives in Blithe Hollow, where the capture of a famous witch 300 years ago has been commemorated in a historical plaque. The auction includes the plaque with the witches head along with the accompanying mold “cast” of the witch’s head, which appear in a pivotal scene or two in the film.
“The movies that LAIKA and Focus have made together have thrilled and delighted millions," said Elizabeth O’Neil, Executive Director of Variety: The Children’s Charity of Southern California. "With its anti-bullying theme, ParaNorman has proved particularly impactful for kids. We’re so pleased that beautifully detailed and painstakingly created props from this wondrous tale will now be offered for auction to benefit children in need in our community.”
LAIKA, which was founded by Nike co-founder and chairman Philip H. Knight, and its President & CEO Travis Knight, is the company that created the much-acclaimed Coraline as well. It took their crew of over 320 talented animators, designers, artists, and technicians to hand-craft ParaNorman, which is currently up for a GLAAD Media Award.
If, like certain journalists, you're having ParaNorman withdrawals while waiting for the DVD, you'll be happy to learn that Focus Features has released a new, free, interactive digital booklet that lets fans take closer look at the members of the filmmaking team and their handiwork.
Download the Inside ParaNorman booklet here.