22 mins, Arna Selznick s Director
The Most Magnificent Thing is an inspirational story about a little girl with a creative spirit, determined to make great things. Joined by her best friend, her pet dog, the two happily explore the world, doing absolutely everything together. When she receives her very own tool kit, the little girl sets out to make the most magnificent thing for her best friend – but it’s not as easy as she thinks! The Most Magnificent Thing is a timeless tale about learning through perseverance and hard work, the power of love, and selflessness.
When I was 8 years old, I was much like our hero, the Girl in our film. She is a maker of things. She has a best friend Dog, and they do everything together. Yup, that’s how I was then. Me, always drawing and making things, and my dog always by my side. So, I jumped at the chance to direct this short film adaptation of writer/artist Ashley Spires’ book, THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING.
The creative journey is often not an easy one, as Spires so well depicts in the book. When things go right, we feel the absolute joy of creation! But when things go wrong, we might persist and persist, only to reach a point when we feel there is nothing left to do but give up. That’s when the breakthrough comes for our Girl.
As Girl says in our film, making stuff is hard! The process of adapting this book to film was all that and a total joy.
I was honoured to work with my screenwriter partner, husband John van Bruggen, who crafted our lovely screenplay.
I was thrilled to work with Nelvana’s talented Most Magnificent team, who brought the vision of our story to life. Every day, the crew achieved a new level of technical expertise and creativity. We wanted our computer-generated film world to feel handmade, so we designed wonky, uneven shapes. Girl’s ‘made things’ are quirky and incredibly ingenious. Our characters are gorgeously furred. Surface textures are subtle and deep. We animated mostly on twos, like a stop motion film. The animation is sensitive, and the characters feel genuine. Our sound designers included extensive real time Foley and a beautiful score from Judith Gruber-Stitzer.
Our exceptional voice cast includes Whoopi Goldberg as Narrator, Alison Pill as Mom, Lilly Bartlam as Girl, and Tony Daniels as her hilarious friend Dog.
At the heart of our story is our Girl’s journey. It begins with a new toolbox and ends with a new perspective: What’s truly magnificent can be something simple, that is made for a friend.
I hope you enjoy watching THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING as much as I did making it.
Director, THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING
Arna Selznick is an award-winning director and story artist. As a pioneering female director of animated feature films such as The Care Bears Movie in 1984, Arna inspires and entertains families with her imaginative storytelling. Arna’s director credits include: The Care Bears Movie, Little Bear (season 2), and Back to School with Franklin. In addition, Arna’s feature story artist credits include feature films such as: The Nut Job Sequel, Spark, and Rock and Rule; and television series such as: Nerds and Monsters, Kate and Mim-Mim, 6teen, The Animated Mr. Bean, and The Inspector Gadget original series.
John van Bruggen is currently HEAD WRITER on BRAVE BUNNIES, an adorable animated series by GLOWBERRY (Ukraine). https://glowberry.com.ua/en/serials
John wrote the screenplay for Nelvana’s new 22-minute CG short, THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING, directed by Arna Selznick and based on the popular children’s book by creator Ashley Spires. THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING is screening at the Ottawa Animation Festival.
John van Bruggen has over twenty years of experience writing entertaining, production-friendly scripts for animation. With his partner, director Arna Selznick, he wrote and co-directed a series of musical animated shorts based on their jazzy hepcat character, COOLMAN! John’s directing credits in animation include BEETLEJUICE, FRANKLIN, GEORGE & MARTHA, the
direct-to-DVD feature FRANKLIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, and the Gemini Award-winning series JIM HENSON’S DOG CITY. John is a member of the WGC and SOCAN.