To prepare for a ramp-up in production, and meet an internal goal of one film every 8 to 12 months, Imagi Studios has begun assembling a team of experienced Hollywood animation professionals to guide its Hong Kong animation staff (which includes approximately 400 animators and staff).
Cecil Kramer, whose credits include Shrek, Antz and the Prince of Egypt will be the Executive VP of Production and oversee creative from LA. Ms. Kramer was formerly the co-head of production at DreamWorks Animation.
Maryanne Granger, a colleague of Ms Kramer’s from DreamWorks (DWA) will join the team to head production for Imagi’s title “Astroboy.” Lynne Southerland, co-director of Mulan 2 will be the producer for Gatchaman, Imagi’s other in-development title (due in 2008).
The hiring’s mark an aggressive growth plan being implemented by Douglas Glen, who was hired to lead the company in September. At the core of the strategy (which I speculated on here) is the use of facilities in both Los Angeles and Hong Kong to improve cost efficiencies in creating their animated films.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Imagi’s first solo production effort (distributed by Warner Brothers) hits theaters today. It was reportedly produced (not including marketing expenses) for around $35m, significantly less than the $80-100m it would have likely cost to do the animation in the United States.
Considering the time and amount of data processing necessary to create a feature animation those savings are especially impressive.(When lighting is changed in a film, the data load can be extreme. A single episode of Imagi’s 2004 DreamWorks partnered TV series, Father of the Pride, required processing more than 1.5 terabytes of data – the equivalent to the text contained in about a million books)