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Henson’s Creature Shop Closes in London

As a result of the dollars unfavorable exchange rate and a lack of concrete tax incentives in the U.K. production market, The Jim Henson Co. will no longer have a full time staff at its London location of Jim Hensons Creature Shop, the companys visual effects and animatronics division. However, the companys own television and film projects are not affected and the Creature Shop will continue to service third party clients out of its Los Angeles and New York locations, as well as hiring freelance crews in London on a project-by-project basis.

President and coo Peter Schube said, Jim Hensons Creature Shop in London was founded on the highest standards of innovation and creativity, launching our worldwide facilities with those principles in mind. We are grateful to the U.K. film industry for its important place in our companys history and we are confident that it will remain a significant production center for us.

Jim Hensons Creature Shop is one of the pre-eminent character-building and visual effects facilities serving the international film, television and advertising industries. Most recently, the Creature Shop provided characters and visual effects for ARE WE THERE YET?, FIVE CHILDREN AND IT and the critically acclaimed television miniseries FARSCAPE: THE PEACEKEEPER WARS. Previous projects include AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF (LE PACT DES LOUPS), THE ENGLISH PATIENT, LOST IN SPACE, 101 DALMATIANS, CATS AND DOGS and BABE. Previously, The Creature Shop received a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award for the Henson Performance Control System, a powerful custom-based interface for puppeteers, and won a second Academy Award for its visual effects work on BABE. Jim Hensons Creature Shop has been recognized by the prestigious Computerworld Honors 21st Century Achievement Award, which recognizes innovative applications of technology that benefit society and the Computer Graphics World Innovation Award. Both awards were given to The Shop for its work in developing the Henson Digital Performance System (HDPS), a patented control system technology that enables puppeteers to physically perform a computer generated character in realtime and recently featured in the production of FRANCES, a preschool project for 2006 in partnership with HIT Ent.

Los Angeles-based The Jim Henson Co. (, currently celebrating 50 years as an established leader in family entertainment, is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and computer graphics. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets (the rights to which are now owned by The Walt Disney Co.), Henson is the recipient of nearly 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Henson recently made the telefeature THE MUPPETS WIZARD OF OZ for Buena Vista Television.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.