Robin Woods Sumners wrote the story, created the characters and is the guiding light of the production. Artie Romero has signed as producer, Rich Arons as the director, and phase 1 fundraising is now underway on indiegogo. Ultimately $30 million to $40 million will need to be raised, and the indiegogo project will provide seed money.
Robin Woods Sumners and Mary Jane Gilson have been good friends since the early 1980s, when Robin Woods founded a doll business and factory with 300 employees who made 330 dolls a day in Pittsburgh, PA and Mary Jane, then Emmert, was sales manager working with a team who grew Gund, a major US plush toy company, from annual sales of around 3 million dollars annually to about 60 million dollars annually. The two friends have collaborated on numerous projects.
When Robin Woods began writing "The Legends of Alice Pendragon," animation seemed like the perfect venue to bring the characters to life. Since Gilson and Artie Romero, founder of ARG! were already friends, the project seemed like a natural. They went to see Artie, paraded the dolls (now character models) before him, told him the story, and Artie was convinced. Shortly afterward, Romero introduced the project to the award-winning director, Rich Arons and the core players were in place.
Magic exists and love is all powerful!
“The Legends of Alice Pendragon” is an innovative original story written by Robin Woods Sumners and based on the classic Arthurian tale. Each of Robin’s dolls came with a small book tied to the wrist that told the doll’s story; now those stories are being combined to produce an epic tale. In our time, the Camelot tale remains one which has mesmerized generations.
A modern tale in a historic setting
The setting of this unique spin on the classic Pendragon tale takes the story from somewhere around 500 AD in England to modern day Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. This new version transcends the original story to one which allows the heroine, a young girl named Alice, to do the remarkable—to save her brother, Arthur, from the disastrous consequences of having his imagination stolen. His loss of imagination is part of a master plan by an evil entity trolling the Internet and building power by stealing the imaginations of children who are enticed to play an adventurous game, which puts them in grave danger.
The children in this story face their crisis head on, solving problems by transcending the boundaries of time, experience and even mythology. As the girls in “The Legends of Alice Pendragon” embrace their intelligence, strength and creativity, they create miraculous outcomes.
Dolls become character models
As the trend setter of the modern day doll industry in the US beginning in the 1980’s, Robin Woods (Sumners) reinvented the doll industry by tying the use of story to her beautiful and original doll designs. One of her most popular and awarded series was consistently “The Camelot Castle Collection.”
The Impact: Powerful role models!
At a time when individualism and isolationism are important issues,the characters in this story will be role models whose behavior demonstrates strength, creativity and problem solving.
This story provides role models of girls taking leadership roles, solving problems and creating miraculous approaches to situations which appear impossible. Imagination is one of the core needs of life; without imagination, the past and the future are lost and the moment is all that exists. It is particularly important for girls to understand the power they have and to take charge in making things change. Not since Nancy Drew have girls seen themselves as the sleuths who will remove the veil of secrecy and get to the core of “the truth” as they do in The Legends of Alice Pendragon. The body of great children’s literature has addressed the need for an active imagination, but no story before, that we know of, has had as its core-motivating event, the idea of Imagination Lost!
The most exciting part of this project is that “The legends of Alice Pendragon” is already a brand. As a brand the concept has the possibility to expand to many platforms to further tell its story. The basic story line and the characters have been part of the Robin Woods Dolls website since early 2008. Now she's focused on the process of creating the animated film and of publishing the book. Also in discussion are concepts for games, consumer products including children’s items, toys, dolls, costumes, clothing, party goods, other paper products, as well as additional stories in the complete works of “The Legends of Alice Pendragon” series.
Robin Woods Sumners, Ph.D.
Robin Woods Sumners has had an intriguing career that has incorporated many aspects of artistry, fashion, literature, education, and business -- her focus has been always on teaching, using the arts, costume design, fashion, the importance of telling a story, and children. Robin received an excellent liberal arts education beginning in high school, and spanning the years while completing a Bachelor and Master of Arts in English, a certification in Social Work, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Child Development.
Her Design and Arts career has spanned almost 30 years in the toy and doll industry, primarily in the categories of fashion dolls and play dolls. She is most well known for having impacted and changed the doll industry beginning in 1983, by using new patterns, colors, textures and accents to create a new look in doll fashion.
Mary Jane Gilson
Mary Jane Gilson has enjoyed success in marketing and sales in a career spanning several decades. She has always appreciated film because, as she puts it, she has the soul of an artist.
Gilson has particularly loved film since her daughter graduated from the prestigious NYU Film School in Manhattan and began a career and developed her passion for film making while working in the film industry in NYC.
“At a certain point in one’s career, you just have to follow your passion.” Gilson says, and The legends of Alice Pendragon is allowing her to do just that.
As producer, ARG! founder Artie Romero brings 30 years of animation experience to the production, including numerous motion picture and TV screen credits and awards. In the 1980s, Artie produced animated titles for several motion pictures, which led to his selection by Sony Pictures' Tri-Star division as a digital effects animator in the 1996 production of Johnny Mnemonic starring Keanu Reeves.
Rich Arons is a distinguished and accomplished artist, working in the Animation industry since 1978. Trained in classical drawing, he studied animation and earned his degree at the Disney school at the California Institute of the Arts, under several great Disney artists of animation's golden era.
Rich developed, directed and produced hundreds of television cartoons for Steven Spielberg including such hits as "Tiny Toon Adventures", "Animaniacs"
Rich has also worked on story for several major feature films, in both traditional and CG animation styles. He co-directed the CG feature “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.” He story directed on Warner Brothers' Space Jam starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny and worked on story development for Twentieth Century Fox's Ice Age.