Jill Kintner's Mind Maintenance - Welcome To Bandit Hill

Red Bull

Bandit Hill

A magical world from Jill Kintner

The making of Bandit Hill.

In a world that feels so heavy, it’s hard to find things that lighten the mood, bring joy, and make you smile. But, if you look hard enough, try hard enough, and tap deep into your imagination, places of magic still exist. Places like Bandit Hill.
Jill Kintner's Mind Maintenance - Welcome To Bandit Hill
Enter the land of smiling mountains and playful critters. Bandit Hill is a whimsical place where the forest comes alive, the critters frolic, and the dirt is oh-so-perfect. Pulled directly from the mind of Olympic medalist and world champion mountain biker Jill Kintner, Bandit Hill takes Jill’s sketch book and brings it to life. It’s a trip into a hybrid 2D and 3D world that has Kintner riding with her critters while the clouds above argue furiously amid an approaching storm. What starts as a playful adventure turns into a dramatic rescue as the ground gives way to mud monsters and the sky comes crashing down.
Darting between reality and animation, Bandit Hill is the harrowing adventure of a woman turned heroine whose speed and grit saves the critters from imminent doom. Oozing with character, brilliant color, and creativity beyond our wildest dreams, Bandit Hill is full of hope. Fairy tales do still exist.
For Kintner, Bandit Hill is an extremely personal project. “Being from the Pacific Northwest you see these critters all the time in the forest. They’re kind of like my little friends and being outside with them is my happy place,” she said. “These drawings all started as random thoughts and ideas in my sketchbook.” She’s been doodling critters her entire life, and eventually they adorned the outside of her van and her Red Bull helmet. “That’s where the idea for Bandit Hill came from,” Kintner recalled. “I thought it would be so cool to bring my helmet to life and try to experience their world.”
Creating Bandit Hill was no small feat. Over the course of nearly three years Jill, director and lead Filmer Scotty Carlson of Juicy Studios, animator Owen Rixen of the 2D Workshop, and writer/producer Lacy Kemp developed the narrative, characters, and the world of Bandit Hill. It took weeks of hunting for the perfect tree for the critters to call home. The crew harvested moss from logs to create carpet-lined trails that looked like something out of a dream. A local artisan crafted stove pipes that were fitted to the tree house. The set design was intense, but the result is a perfect little animal haven, complete with lights, working chimneys, and a miniature fire pit. Kintner sculpted an acorn “snack” out of clay, developed multiple sets for various scenes and spent months perfecting the tiny details of every little design element. “Seeing everyone’s touch and the combination of everyone’s skills totally exceeded my expectation,” Kintner said. “We had daily briefs for months with the crew to see animatics, talk, redraw. What our whole team collectively brought to this project was incredible.”
Jill Kintner's Mind Maintenance - Welcome To Bandit Hill
Carlson, a veteran director and filmmaker, was truly tested throughout the course of the project. “This took so much longer than anyone expected,” he said. “We had some false starts, and we had an issue with our camera not working and we had to rethink the whole project and start again.” But sometimes those struggles are what make a good story evolve into something incredibly special. It gave the crew a few extra days to prepare, work through ideal weather windows, and hammer home the intricacies of a shoot that required a lot of special effects to pull off. “Jill has a very particular level of detail and quality, so hitting that consistency was a good challenge,” Carlson recalled. “I love her style of artwork. It has so much charm and personality. When we got the first animations placed in, suddenly it felt like this was possible and it was going to work.”
Roughly 1,000 days after the initial pitch of Bandit Hill the film is ready to be released to the world. Squirrel, Fox, and Snail will unleash their charms on audiences worldwide. Their personalities are what make Bandit Hill such a memorable project. “’Squirrel is my power animal,” Kintner said. Carlson is also a fan of our furry protagonist. “There’s something special about Squirrel—the general stoke. I have to say it’s my favorite.”
Jill Kintner's Mind Maintenance - Welcome To Bandit Hill
Whether you’re partial to Squirrel’s leadership, Snail’s affable goofiness, or Fox’s gentle personality, Bandit Hill will have everyone hitting replay again and again. “I’ve watched it countless times and it still makes me smile,” Kintner said fondly. “It’s delightful,” Carlson agreed. “Many things make it unique. There were a lot of people really invested in this, from artwork to writing to filming. For me personally, going deeper and trying to really blend everything together to make it feel like the animals were really in the forest…it was fun to achieve and bring to life.”
Once upon a time among the big, towering trees, lived a squirrel, fox, and snail as happy as could be. Here’s hoping the joy of three critters and their best friend Jill can provide a little place of joy for many years to come.
Jill has made an awesome website which contains much more artwork and behind the scenes of the Bandit Hill movie.
You can watch Jill Kintner’s excellent Bandit Hill video here
Jill Kintner's Mind Maintenance - Welcome To Bandit Hill

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