Three creative Lubavitchers from Montreal - artist Haim Sherrf, Shliach Yisroel Bernath and screenwriter Zvi Hershcovich - are behind a $1.8 million animated film.
The era of primitively animated Jewish animations – with their cheap production values, "flat" look and stultifying scripts – appears to be coming to an end.
Canadian-produced Young Avraham is set to usher in a generation of slick and sophisticated "direct-to-video" CGI (computer-generated imagery)-animated Jewish films that will not repeat the same stories over and over again.
It is a project of three Lubavitchers in Montreal, Canada: Artist Haim Sherrf, Shliach Rabbi Yisroel Bernath and screenwriter Rabbi Zvi Hershcovich.
Bernath and Hershcovich researched the story with all of its Midrashic sources and wrote Hollywood style script that has already captured the attention of the entire spectrum of the Jewish world.
Sherrf artistically created the characters that were later used by the animation team to produce the masterpiece. The script was later polished by J. Jacob Potashnik.
Three years in the making at a cost of $1.8 million, Young Avraham gives new texture, depth and meaning to the age-old story of mankind's first Jew.
"The idea of the film," explains Rabbi Bernath, "is for it be good enough for our children to watch and appealing enough to our Bal Habatim and the broader Jewish market. Its really time for us to bring the Torah to life in a way world has never seen before and Chabad needs to be on the forefront of this."
Produced and funded by Eliyahu Cohen, Moshe Dayan and Sidney El Hadad, the direct-to-video DVD uses the latest in digital animation technology while coming up with a story that would genuinely enthrall viewers.
"Our aim was to get away from the renderings seen in previous, conventionally animated fare like The Prince of Egypt and The Ten Commandments," said executive producer, Eliyahu Cohen.
The animation was done by Big Bang Digital Studios, one of Canada's premiere animation companies.
"I am already working some new stuff," said Rabbi Zvi Hershcovich, who ran Chabad-Lubavitch of Stavropol in Russia. When asked to reveal his secrets, he responded, "you'll just have to wait and find out."