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Cornerstone Animation Takes Hit

Cornerstone Animation is missing one of its cornerstones with the recent departure of president/ceo Jason Marshall VanBorssum, who unexpectedly cleaned out his office at the studio in Glendale, California, leaving company files in disarray and its workers unpaid, AWN confirmed with founder/chief creative officer Larry Whitaker. Although we have been forced to shut our doors, we have not filed bankruptcy to date. We are currently owed monies on a project we completed a few weeks ago. VanBorssum has been unreachable according to Whitaker, who is looking for important financial records once under the purview of his partner.

Steve Hulett, business representative for The Animation Guild and Affiliated Optical Electronic and Graphic Arts, Local 839 IATSE, said the Guild had a contract with the studio for work Cornerstone employees and contractors performed on Disney's LION KING 1 1/2. We became aware of problems a few weeks ago, he said. Right now, we are trying to salvage the situation. Larry Whitaker has been cooperative with these efforts, but the fact remains that a number of people are owed money by Cornerstone.

It's been represented to me by some company principals that one of the officers is responsible for the current problem at Cornerstone My fervent hope is that artists who badly need the money now owed them by Cornerstone will soon be paid, said Hulett.

VanBorssum joined Cornerstone in October 2000 to oversee all corporate operations such as strategy and planning, financials, human resources, business development, capitalization, investor relations and distribution. Previously, VanBorssum served as a financial advisor for First Union Securities of Pasadena, California.

Cornerstone Animation is best known for its animation direction on Disneys RETURN TO NEVERLAND, and for its production of Big Idea Prods animated video series LARRYBOY, in addition to work on various films and direct-to-videos for The Walt Disney Co., Mattel, Fox Television and Focus On The Family. The studio had also sponsored a series of free lectures and classes featuring prominent people in the animation field on various craft topics.