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Asterisk Animates Sequence in White Countess

New York City-based Asterisk produced an animated sequence for the Merchant/Ivory Productions WHITE COUNTESS, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.

The 40-second sequence occurs about 20 minutes into the film as a young girl stops to look at a shadowbox on the amusement pier. The glass slide in the shadowbox slowly comes to life and elegantly depicts the journey to another town shes been hoping for.

To bring the painted glass slides to life, Asterisk employed a mixture of classical tools and digital technology. Noted New York-based Chinese artist Handong Quan designed the artwork using a traditional fluid brush line with soft color washes. Asterisk animated the characters by hand, rendering the line art on rice paper. The images were then scanned and digitally painted, then 3D camera moves were executed using Maya on a PowerMac G5.

The animation was produced and directed by Richard OConnor and Brian OConnell. Doug Compton, Ed Smith and Winnie Tom animated the sequence. Production artists were Christina Capozzi, Tim Chi Ly and Valerie Lisyansky.

WHITE COUNTESS was directed by James Ivory, written by Kazuo Ishiguro, produced by Ismail Merchant, edited by John David Allen with cinematography by Christopher Doyle. The picture opened in a limited release and is scheduled for a wide release in January 2006.

Opened in 2004, Asterisk ( is boutique, headed by producing/directing team O'Connor and O'Connell, focusing on graphic driven character animation across media for commercial, series and feature films.