Bix Pix Entertainment’s “Red Planet Blues” is festbound and “Tree” heads for Wal-Mart

A former Chicagoan now living in Texas had composed a song called “Red Planet Blues,” and sought a clay animation company to create the story of Mori the Martian who dreams of traveling to earth based on the song.

Carol Singer serendipitously found Kelli Bixler’s Chicago-based Bix Pix Entertainment. “We’re very proud of the results,” said Bixler, as the 13-minute short heads off to 30 film festivals and two sequels are in the works.

“Planet” marked the first time six-year-old Bix Pix Entertainment had filmed in 35mm “and the results were beautiful,” said Bixler. Their large corporate clients (Hasbro Toys, Disney and PAX) prefer digital shooting. The budget was “comparable to a high end commercial.”

The Bix Pix staff and composer Singer collaborated on the story, bookended by Singer’s “Red Planet Blues.” Mori sings the blues because he can’t figure out how to travel to Earth. When a NASA rocket lands on his home turf, he thinks he’s had a chance to hitch a ride. But he and this spacecraft don’t speak the same language. So it takes ingenuity, persistence and a good sense of humor for this savvy little alien to put his plan into action.

Production started in May, shooting in June and the short was delivered in September, in time for entry in the recently ended and most successful Chicago Children’s Film Festival. Bixler produced, David H. Brooks directed, Andrew Hodges was head animation director; post by Daily Planet, sound from Avenue Sound. Singer recorded the song in Texas.

Meanwhile, Bix Pix’ proprietary short, “Miss Twiggly’s Tree,” will land in all Wal-Mart stores, thanks to a North American distribution deal with First National Pictures of Burbank. Bixler first started working on “Tree” in 1999. “We’ve had many pickup offers, but First National’s was far and away the best, ” she said.

The company employs eight officially and adds up to 35 professionals for the two to five projects it produces annually.

Bix Pix Entertainment is located at 1917 W. Belmont, phone, 773-248-5430; see