Tuesday, 24 November 2009

'Ultramarines' WH40K movie in production

Yes indeed! After years of anticipation and frustration, finally, the first Warhammer 40,000 movie - Ultramarines - is in production.

Games Workshop (GW) first produced the table-top miniature wargame fantasy version of Warhammer back in the 1980s, creating a futuristic version - Warhammer 40,000 or WH40K - in 1987 (based upon an idea for a Rogue Trader game, which became incorporated into the first titles before a refocussing of the game). Originally intended to replace the dependence upon US titles such as Dungeons and Dragons, both Warhammer and WH40K have become the mainstay of GW, with books and computer games based upon the original table-top miniature game.

Set in the 41st millennium, most of the major storylines that provide the backdrop and history span over millennia.

The popularity of WH40K can be seen by just a brief perusal of the aethernet. Home movies, often produced by remashing footage from the computer games, or by stop motion animation, are a popular way of sharing enthusiasm, and can be found on youtube.

Probably the greatest disappointment came when Damnatus, a non-commercial low-budget movie made in Germany by fans and for fans, set in the WH40K universe, was blocked following ruling over copyright conflicts in England and Germany German copyright law confers the intellectual rights of created works to the people that created them, and thus Games Workshop would lose the rights to the intellectual property of Warhammer 40,000, on which Damnatus was based. GW has thus far refused to allow it to be shown, and has not changed this position despite online petitions and requests from the filmmakers. As a result, Damnatus was ended indefinitely on October 15, 2007. However, some footage was available online earlier in 2009 via Pirate Bay, and the trailer (and more) may be seen via here :

However, GW has now announced that an official WH40K movie is in production. Entitled Ultramarines, this has been greeted by fans of all ages enthusiatically.

On 5 October, London-based production company Codex Pictures announced today that it is in production in the UK and Canada on Ultramarines, a feature-length movie on DVD/Blu-ray set in Games Workshop’s futuristic Warhammer 40,000 universe. The sci-fi thriller, which is employing CGI and state-of-the-art animation production techniques, is being produced by Codex Pictures in association with Good Story Productions Ltd. The Canadian co-producer is POP6 Studios. The producers are Bob Thompson of Good Story Productions and David Kerney of Codex Pictures.

The film has been financed by Aramid Entertainment BV, POP6 Medias Inc and the Wales Creative IP Fund. The team behind Ultramarines were producers of the original, highly successful and multi award-winning DVD BIONICLE®, made for the LEGO Company. “We are delighted to be working with Codex Pictures on the first ever feature-length DVD movie set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe,” says Andy Jones, Head of Legal and Licensing for Games Workshop. “The talented team at Codex has a wealth of experience and are very passionate about Warhammer 40,000. We are confident that Ultramarines will deliver a fantastic visual and narrative experience.”

"We are thrilled to have been chosen to produce a feature film based on such an iconic global property - much sought-after by many other studios and producers over the years," says Vanessa Chapman, MD of Codex Pictures and executive producer of Ultramarines. "It's an important part of our company strategy going forward and marks the return of many members of the award-winning team behind BIONICLE®. Considerable time and research has gone into developing an authentic yet fresh approach to the design of the film. We hope it will be the first of many such projects."

Upon DVD release, there will be both a collector’s edition and international version.

Key to note here is that, unlike the perception at Game Day, the movie will have a DVD, and not a cinematic, release.

The director is Martyn Pick, whose credits include the 2009 film 'The Age of Stupid', on which he was animation director; London 2012, the promotional film commissioned by Film London and the London Development Agency which was
premiered at the Beijing Olympics; the 2001 US Budweiser NBA commercial; and the celebrated BBC promotional trailers for the Euro 2004 soccer tournament. Martyn was chosen to direct Ultramarines for his renowned and highly distinctive ability to fuse live action and animation and the fluid, rich painterly style of his film-making.

The screenplay has been written by someone who needs no introduction to Warhammer 40,000 fans – best-selling author Dan Abnett. Dan has penned more than 25 books for Games Workshop’s Black Library, with total sales in excess of 1.2 million copies. He also works regularly for 2000 AD, Marvel Comics and DC Comics
and has recently seen publication of the first of three novels for HarperCollins' new sci-fi, fantasy and horror imprint, Angry Robot.

Despite concerns about the director's lack of feature film experience, the presence of Abnett as screenwriter seems reassuring.

Video of the news release:

More information may be found at: http://codexpictures.com/news.html and http://ultramarinesthemovie.com/

As to what this means to steampunks?

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