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Animal Goes BiCoastal, Launches New Venice Studio

East Coast commercial visual effects studio Animal has gone bicoastal with the launch of a West Coast studio to serve its growing roster of national and international agency clientele.

Press Release from Animal

Venice, Calif. –July 20, 2010 – East Coast commercial visual effects studio Animal has gone bicoastal with the launch of a West Coast studio to serve its growing roster of national and international agency clientele. Best known for its signature talking animal work, notably the beloved Taco Bell Chihuahua, Animal’s Pittsburgh studio will continue to partner with its East Coast clients while extending its reach and technical services to Los Angeles. The new studio occupies an airy and spacious three-story loft strategically located on Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the heart of L.A.’s advertising and creative communities.

In the new venture, Animal partner and co-founder Michael Killen reunites with veteran executive producer Leslie Sorrentino, formerly of The Syndicate, to deliver custom-tailored services across the range of offerings from both studios, including motion graphics and CGI, color grading, finishing and compositing.

The bicoastal studios will continue to focus on talking animals as seen in distinctive campaigns for California Cheese, Subway and Bounce, as well as animation and visual effects for Nestle, Harry & David, Del Monte and Universal Republic.

Sorrentino has collaborated with Killen for more than a decade and counts among his recent projects HBO’s “Imagine” campaign for BBDO, Nike “Hyperize” for Wieden & Kennedy, Charter Communications for Fallon and VW and Burger King campaigns for Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.

Animal’s tenth year in business marks a decade of steady growth, diverse clientele and refinement of its pioneering and ingenious process. Killen’s experience in sculpting charismatic animal performances, both in front of the camera and throughout Animal’s unique manipulation of digital imagery, has resulted in memorable characters that reach through and become part of popular culture. Animal’s next-generation business model interweaves post production and production, providing creative and technical involvement at the conceptual stage, on set supervision, and delivery of a fully finished, broadcast-ready spot for clients at completion, and takes full advantage of continental time zone opportunities.

According to Killen, “When Leslie approached us with the idea of a new post-production model–a multi-disciplinary and highly personalized experience for clients–we knew it was a perfect fit for our brand.  We share the same intense commitment to our clients, an innovative and evolving production process, and the desire to expand our geographic footprint.”“We believe in L.A.,” said Sorrentino.  “With our presence in Venice we are fully invested in the commercial production community and our longstanding relationships. We are also eagerly looking forward to new collaborations with agencies and directors. The time was right for Animal to create a smart and agile hybrid. We’re a new breed.”

Joining Animal’s Venice studio is the highly regarded visual effects artist Ben Looram, whose work in commercials and music videos has earned him Clio, Andy, One Show and Emmy Awards.  His recent credits include the Toyota Sienna online campaign “Swagger Wagon” for Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Starbucks “Frappuccino” and “Via” Campaigns for BBDO, Porsche Cayenne Turbo for Cramer-Krasselt and Chrysler “Agog” and Charter Communications for Fallon. The studio will also represent well-known visual effects supervisor Ben Grossmann for commercial assignments.  Grossmann’s recent feature film credits include Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Martin Scorsese’s “Shutter Island.”   His commercial credits include the Gold Clio-winning branded short film “The Key to Reserva” for Freixenet, also directed by Scorsese, for JWT Spain.

Animal is configured with Autodesk Flame, Maya and 3ds Max in a 5.1 audio environment and also outfitted with the ASSIMILATE SCRATCH color grading system.

ABOUT ANIMALFounded in 2001 by director and visual effects artist Michael Killen, visual effects artist Jim Kreitzburg and executive producer Kathy Dziubek, Animal operates as a lean, multi-disciplinary bicoastal studio.  Animal’s East and West Coast studios have partnered with national and international brands and advertising agencies to deliver world-class visual effects and transmedia for the broadcast and interactive worlds.

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