There is no question that it has become a popular trend in the film and television industry to adapt and modernize classic fairy tales. Films like Snow White & The Huntsman and the hit series Once Upon a Time on ABC have studios prepping to release a slew of future fairy tale adaptations. Currently in development are adaptations of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Peter Pan, with announcements that Disney will be releasing a live action film of Maleficent as well as Peter and the Starcatchers.
While it is expected for studios to tackle these big budgeted productions, it is nice to see film students taking their own stab at adapting these classic fairy tales.
A team of undergraduate student filmmakers from Chapman University in Orange, California seem up to the challenge. For their senior thesis film, they adapted a dark interpretation of the Peter Pan, providing a new twist on the classic story written by JM Barrie. Their film, titled East of Kensington, has been a project of passion for the filmmaking team over the past three years.
East of Kensington takes place years after Peter has defeated Hook and the Pirates. Peter visits London to return Wendy to Neverland, only to be kidnapped by a mysterious stranger residing in the decaying remains of the Darling House.
The film’s director, Kellen Moore, explains his inspiration for the film’s storyline:
I was really interested in expanding on the world of Peter Pan… I have my own personal reasons for connecting to Peter’s story and everyone loves the dream of staying a kid forever. To live in Neverland is to live in a fantasy… and the Darling Children who are from a very real London had an opportunity to live in a fantasy. I wanted to explore the consequences the public would instill on the Darling Children for claiming they had a taste of something the world would deem impossible. The idea of reality destroying fantasy was very interesting to me. So ironically, the film’s darkest elements just come from real life.
While the film is clearly a departure from the approach Disney took with their own adaptation, it is interesting to know that the film’s key creative consultant, Andrew Ducote, played Peter Pan in the Disney parks and gained online notoriety as “Spieling Peter.” He was intrigued by the unique approach that East of Kensington took with the well know tale and has been an avid creative presence throughout its production.
The team also had success casting up-and-coming actor, Jack Griffo, to play the role of Peter. Jack has since been cast as a lead in the upcoming Nickelodeon series the Thundermans set to premiere this fall.
Independent films have been flourishing in the age of crowd funding and the team from East of Kensington is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to help send their now completed film to festivals all over the world. They are asking for our help to spread the word of their campaign and film. I’ve personally been moved by their talent and the potential for this well done film. A donation to their Kickstarter gets you a copy of the film on either DVD or Blu-ray, as well as some other unique perks.
I invite you to watch the trailer below. And if you are moved as I’ve been, let me know. Perhaps we can arrange a special MiceChat screening soon.
For more information visit: www.eastofkensington.com