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Vanguard Opens 3D Studio at Ealing for Valiant

Gearing up for its work on the 3D/CG animated feature VALIANT, Vanguard Animation has opened a full-scale, computer-animation studio at London's Ealing Studios. The production is taking over a newly renovated, 10,000 square foot site. The storyboarding, character design and production design to date has been created in L.A., with many of that crew coming to London for the commencement of the full animation production. Starting with a crew of 75, the production will finally employ more than 120. The film plans to be in production over the next 18 months.

The films producer John H. Williams (SHREK) said, "Valiant has all the possibilities of being a huge commercial movie. We're very proud to be the producers of the first European all CG animated family feature with a major distributor behind it."

Co-producer Curtis Augspurger added, "We've put together a top production management team whose backgrounds include working at companies including, Pixar, WETA, DreamWorks, and Aardman. Vanguard Animation has now completed a state-of-the-art CG production operation that is world class. We have spent the last nine months doing critical creative development in L.A. and supervising the technical build out of Ealing, and staffing that operation."

The comedy tells the story of a lowly wood pigeon named Valiant, who, despite his small size, aspires to become a member of the Royal Homing Pigeon Service during World War II, delivering vital messages from French Resistance to Allied Forces all the while avoiding the lethal Enemy falcons. The film is part of a four-picture distribution deal with Walt Disney Studios, which will handle distribution in North America.

The picture is being directed by British character designer Gary Chapman. Exec producers are Barnaby Thompson for Ealing Studios, Ralph Kamp for Odyssey Entertainment, Keith Evans for Baker Street Media Finance and Robert Jones for the U.K. Film Council. Co-producers are Augspurger, Eric M. Bennett and Buckley Collum for Vanguard Animation.

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Rick DeMott
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