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By: Athena Studios | November 2, 2015


Athena Studios, an Emeryville, CA-based company specializing in animation, is pleased to announce that the studio's original, stop-motion animated short film, "Mermaids on Mars," was named Winner of the "Best Animation" Award for 2015 during the just concluded Carmel International Film Festival. See:

Athena Studios provided all of the animation and production work on the film. The studio also helped to adapt the original full-length screenplay by the film's producer Nancy Guettier (author of the "Mermaids on Mars" book,) and by writer Jarrett Galante into its short film format.

To bring the story of "Mermaids on Mars" to life, Athena assembled a notable crew comprised of a number of stop-motion animation and feature film luminaries. Among these crew members: Athena Producer Kat Alioshin ("Nightmare Before Christmas," "Coraline," "James and the Giant Peach," "Corpse Bride,") Director of Photography Pete Kozachik ("Star Wars: Attack of the Clones," "Corpse Bride," "Ghostbusters 2," "Nightmare Before Christmas,")
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Cinematographer Timothy Taylor ("Back to the Future 2," "Frankenweenie," "Coraline,") Art Director Tom Proost ("Star Wars: The Phantom Menace," "A.I.," "James and the Giant Peach," "The Matrix 2 and 3,") and Puppet Fabricator Victoria Rose Zalewski ("Coraline," "Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas.")
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Other noted talent which contributed to "Mermaids on Mars" included Justin Kohn ("Nightmare Before Christmas," "Coraline," "James and the Giant Peach," "Antz," The Simpsons,") and Amy Adamy ("Coraline," "James and the Giant Peach," "Robot Chicken.")

Immediately following the film's award win at the Carmel Film Festival, Jon V. Peters, Director of "Mermaids on Mars" and founder of Athena Studios, was joined by "Mermaids" co-producer Kat Alioshin and the film's lead animator, Justin Kohn, for a panel entitled "The Making of 'Mermaids on Mars,'" which was held at Sony Pictures Animation as part of the 2015 World Animation Celebration. See:

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Mermaids PANEL left to right - Kat Alioshin, Justin Kohn, Jon Peters and moderator Michael Dietz
Michael Bonitatis, a World Animation Celebration program coordinator, said, "The 'Mermaids on Mars' team put together an amazing panel that presented a truly unique, original film - stop-motion masters at the top of their game. Their panel at the festival was an educational and enthralling experience for everyone. It was a great honor to have them present 'Mermaids on Mars' at our event-- the crowd loved it. I know it will become a huge success."
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Mermaids Author Nancy Guettier and Producer Jon Peters

Hot off of their successes at the Carmel International Film Festival and the World Animation Celebration, the Athena Studios team is now back in active development on another of their original projects -- a stop-motion, animated feature film entitled "Auntie Claus," with collaborator and co-producer Nate Hopper ("Blazing Samurai," "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," "Surf's Up," "Open Season.") The film, based upon the award-winning children's book of the same name by author Elise Primavera, presents the tale of a materialistic young girl who discovers the true meaning of the Christmas holiday season through her adventures at the North Pole with her great Aunt - who just happens to be the sister of Santa Claus.
Also upcoming for the Athena Studios Team:

**On November 7th, Jon Peters will be giving a presentation at UC Berkeley with another local director as a part of BAMFA for underprivileged kids.

** On November 13-14, "Mermaids on Mars" will once again appear in competition during the ITSA Film Festival (Sonora, CA).

** And on December 12-13, "Mermaids on Mars" will be a featured entry during the 11th Annual Los Angeles International Children's Film Festival, held at the LA County Museum of Art.


"Mermaids on Mars" came to Athena Studios from children's book author Nancy Guettier, a producer on the film. Guettier had written the book that the film is loosely based on in 2012, as a dedication to her three adopted children. The multi-talented Guettier also wrote the five songs that are featured in the short film.

The story behind "Mermaids on Mars" centers around a young boy named Julian who takes a fantastic adventure to Mars. There, he discovers that the last surviving mermaids in the universe are living in a small body of water on that planet.

Guettier found Athena Studios while seeking a production company with which to collaborate in translating her book into film. She discovered that Athena was currently in-production on a stop-motion animated feature film "Auntie Claus" - a discovery that made an instant connection with the author.

Working with Jon Peters and Athena's designers, Guettier and the rest of the Athena team developed the fanciful 20-minute "Mermaids on Mars," a piece that combines stop-motion, live action and music to bring to life what Peters calls, "Truly a wonderful tale."

Please see the "Mermaids on Mars" website:

And to view many behind the scenes/making of featurettes on the making of "Mermaids On Mars," please see:

Industry News ImageAbout NANCY GUETTIER:

Nancy Guettier is the Founder of NancyLand Kids, and has been working in the children's retail industry for 24 years. She is an author and songwriter and has written four children's books, all dedicated to her adopted children Genevieve, Julian and Jude. To learn more about Guettier's work, please visit:


Athena Studios was launched as a full service production facility for film and video. In 2013, Athena Studios also began to develop its own original content for motion pictures and television in addition to producing commercial projects

Athena Studios is located in Emeryville, CA, in the heart of Northern California's "New Hollywood" -- near Pixar, Tippett Studios and Ex'pression College for Digital Arts. For more information, please see:

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