Lumenas Animation Studios has signed on Tab Murphy to write and Colin Brady to direct The Legend of Santa Claus, the first of three films that explores the early days and mythology of the Christmas hero.

According to Variety, the project marks a first foray into feature animation for the independent, Salt Lake City-based company, which has developed a mix of digital, stop-motion and live-action technologies for visual effects and commercial work.

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The Legend of Santa Claus takes a different approach than the classic Rankin-Bass stop-motion TV special Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, bringing greedy elves, vain snowfairies and other fantastical creatures into the 18th century tale of young Nicholas.

The first film is targeted for a November 2010 release, with second and third installments focusing on later chapters in Nicholas' adventures to follow in 2012 and 2014.