'Klaus,' Netflix's First Original Animated Feature, Set for Oscar-Qualifying Run

The feature, from director Sergio Pablos, the creator of 'Despicable Me,' will debut this holiday season.
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix is planning a theatrical Oscar-qualifying run for Klaus, its first original animated feature, directed by Despicable Me creator Sergio Pablos.

The streamer on Tuesday offered a press preview of select footage from the film as part of its two-day Netflix Labs event held at its Hollywood headquarters. 

Set in a snowy village, the comic tale serves up an origin story for Santa Claus as it follows the friendship between a young postman and a toymaker named Klaus.

Klaus is being produced at Pablos’ Madrid-based The Spa Studios, using techniques that effectively bring hand-drawn creative techniques into a computer-based pipeline to create a hand-drawn look. Appearing via video conference from Spain, Pablos demonstrated the proprietary technique.

Netflix's Hollywood-based director of character animation James Baxter, who was the supervising animation on Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and whose credits also include The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, is also working on the film. 

The growing slate of upcoming Netflix original animated features includes Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio; Jacob and the Sea Beast, from Chris Williams (Oscar winner for Big Hero 6); My Father's Dragon from Nora Twomey (Oscar nominee for The Breadwinner) and Ireland's Cartoon Saloon; and Over the Moon from Disney legend Glen Keane and China's Pearl Studio.