Framestore sets up feature animation studio

UK visual effects house Framestore CFC has announced the formation of a dedicated feature animation studio Framestore Feature Animation. Heading the new venture will be David Lipman, who joins the company as managing partner after eight successful years at Dreamworks Animation, where his roles included producer on Shrek 2 and co-executive producer on Shrek.

Founded with the aim of becoming London's premiere feature animation studio, Framestore Feature Animation has – in partnership with Universal Studios – already commenced work on its first project. The Tale of Despereaux, based on the award-winning children's novel by Kate DiCamillo, will be directed by Sylvain Chomet, writer and director of the Oscar nominated Les Triplettes de Belleville. The project's producers are Allison Thomas (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville) and Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, Pleasantville, Big).

William Sargent, joint CEO of Framestore CFC, says, "The creation of a new film studio in London's Soho is a real cause for celebration in the UK's film and cultural community. We have long wanted and planned to take this next step in our creative ambitions, and it's very exciting to be starting this journey." Of the challenges ahead, David Lipman says, "The talent pool in the UK and Europe is second to none, and we are looking forward to building an extraordinary team."

British Film Commissioner Steve Norris shares Framestore's enthusiasm. "The UK is home to some of the best animation talent in the world," he says, "The opening of Framestore Feature Animation – a major breakthrough in studio-supported animation here – is great news for these talented people, and a milestone for the UK film industry."

The formation of Framestore Feature Animation will involve a large scale recruitment drive by the company, with up to 200 new staff being expected to join as The Tale of Despereaux gears up through 2007.

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