"West Side Story" Goes Hip-Hop In The Animated "Central Park Tale" Film

AllHipHop Staff

(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop will soon be the voice of yet another generation - the indigenous Black Squirrel. From the animation director of Happy Feet, Daniel Jeannette, and the choreographer of "Step Up 1-4", Jamal Sims, comes a rollicking new Hip-Hop animated film - Central Park Tale.

Some of the top animation professionals in entertainment are embarking on new territory with the first Hip-Hop driven, full-feature film in animation.

Central Park Tale is a fresh twist on West Side Story. This timeless story of star-crossed lovers will be set against the backdrop of a squirrel turf battle in New York City’s Central Park. Featuring riveting dance numbers, and the voices and songs of top urban and Hip-Hop artists, Central Park Tale offers a hip, contemporary take on a classic story that will appeal to children and adults alike.

Inspired by real life events, in 2006, Peter Cooper Village, the last bastion of middle-income housing in NYC, was sold by Met Life for a whopping $5.4 billion - one of the largest real estate transactions in the history of the U.S. Not only were innocent families displaced, but in our story a small community of Black Squirrels (who, in reality, do inhabit Peter Cooper Village) suddenly find themselves homeless.

With winter approaching and their food supply decimated, the Black Squirrels must find new digs, and fast! They migrate to Central Park, only to discover hostile natives, Grey Squirrels, who jealously defend their turf. Mistrust and fear quickly escalate into a parkland feud - which plays out in the classic Hip-Hop battle arena of song and dance.

Dance - and specifically Hip-Hop street battles - is a vital component to the story. World-class choreographer Jamal Sims will be hand-picking some of the best and brightest Hip-Hop dancers on the global stage today. From lockers and poppers to trickers and gymnasts, Sims will be recruit cutting-edge talent that will showcase the latest Hip-Hop dance moves and B-boy stylings. The dancers' movements will be recorded and used as a visual reference to animate the squirrel characters.

The project is still in its development stage and has started a Kickstarter page to raise the funds for the completion of the teaser, which is needed to get the green-light for the animated feature film. The film's writer and producer, Jacqui Barcos, explains why they chose to use Kickstarter and why help from the general public is needed to create history in animation,

"Frankly, because we want to preserve the original vision of this story, our project’s a little edgy. It takes on Hip-Hop, street battles, urban design, graffiti...we want it to be more than just for five-year-olds. We want to make the kind of animated movie you’d want to see and that we’d want to see,” said Barcos.

Sims shares his feelings about breaking new ground in Hip-Hop and animation in the video below:

There is a three week deadline to support the film. Fans can show support for this project by contributing on the official Kickstarter page.