Friday, February 12, 2010

Crest animation studio rides the 3D wave

US studio Lionsgate and Crest India announce further developments in the 3D arena
“Exciting news for us, exciting news for India," enthuses A.K. Madhavan, CEO for Crest Studios, India when discussing the prospects of Crest's latest project. U.S- based studio Lionsgate has given India- based Crest Animation the green light to continue with the second installment of a three-feature film project. The multi-film project kicked off with Alpha And Omega with Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Danny Glover, Dennis Hopper and Larry Miller voicing the characters for the film, which is poised for worldwide theatrical release in stereoscopic 3D on October 1.
The second film in the project is Norm Of The North, penned by Steven and Daniel Altiere. The story centres on Norm, a polar bear, joined by three lemmings, who, as their icecap home melts, find themselves in New York City. Finding work in showbiz as a mascot for a big company, Norm soon learns that the icecaps are still melting, and his new friends are responsible; forcing Norm to choose between his lifelong dream and his old home. Norm is anticipated for a 2012 delivery, also in stereoscopic 3D.
With 3D animation becoming the biggest growth area in the global film industry, with 3D profits outstripping 2D profits working out at a ratio of 3:1, it is perhaps no wonder that the film industry is facing what has widely been called the 'Avatar Effect' - a rush to produce 3D movies, that incidentally, are notoriously difficult to pirate, and therefore potentially generate higher profits. Ken Katsumoto, Vice President of Lionsgate, Family Entertainment, notes the use of a 3D format to enhance and enrich what he believes is already a wonderful and promising story.
Lionsgate and Crest are believed to be undertaking the only joint venture of its kind between a U.S and an Indian studio. Although both companies have numerous awards, notably Lionsgate with its recent 6 academy award nominations for Precious, and Crest with its 2007 Maharashtra IT award and EMMY Awards to name but a few, the details released to the press remain focused on high-quality production values that are reported to rival major studio productions. "We're not resting on our laurels," states Katsumoto, giving a glowing report of his faith in Crest. The work done with Crest not only increases Lionsgate's content portfolio, but also intends to use Norm and Alpha to capitalize on a profitable emerging market.
While recent concerns have been raised about U.S. outsourcing affecting overseas industries, both companies are adamant this is not the case and emphasize their partnership, saying that both have an equal split in this project. The cross-continental partnership, owing to time differences, allows for continuous work on the project."Everyday we operate like a 24 hour studio," says Noah Fogelson, CEO of Crest Animation Productions, which suggests that in the future we could well see similar partnerships springing up. But for now, Lionsgate and Crest are breaking new ground.

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