LA’s Curiosity Ink Media is expanding its partnership with former Nickelodeon and Warner Bros. Animation screenwriter Dustin Ellis to develop the animated family feature film, Heston of the Apes.
The film follows Heston, a naive and stubborn chimpanzee, who was taken away from his mother at birth and raised by scientists to become—as he believes it—a heroic astronaut. After his shuttle’s launch, the titular chimp crash-lands into a safari theme park, which he believes is Mars.
While the scientists embark on a mission to track down their lost asset, the park’s ape family works together with Heston to rebuild his ship while teaching him the concept of family and help him discover where he truly belongs.
The LA-based prodco is preparing the film for distribution in theaters and will oversee the writing, story development and overall direction of the feature alongside Ellis.
Russell Hicks, Curiosity Ink Media’s CCO, hired Ellis in March to oversee the writing and development of the company’s kids content. He is also developing two original animated series for the prodco: the musical series set in Hawaii Aloha Hoku and the sci-fi comedy Laugh on Lorp.
Ellis began his animation career in 2005 when he and his wife wrote and produced the 2D-animated short film Babak & Friends: A First Norooz. He later joined Canada’s Big Bad Boo Studios to create the spinoff animated series Mixed Nutz (13 x 22 minutes), which premiered in 2008 on PBS stations in the US and Shaw Spotlight in Canada.