Digital Domain’s Tradition Studios Gears Up

Last week Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG) lured Pixar’s Brad Lewis (co-director of Cars 2 and Ratatouille producer) to helm animated features for its fledgling Florida-based Tradition Studios. It’s a sign that DD intends to compete with the big boys for a share of the lucrative family market at a fraction of the cost while still delivering quality CG. It also means the opportunity to produce original content, which is in shorter supply with so many sequels.

I’ve just learned that another Disney alum, Pam Coats (Mulan), who recently served as creative liaison on Gnomeo & Juliet, has also joined DDMG to head development for Tradition.

Meanwhile, DDMG is in the process of raising $115 million in an IPO, slated for this summer, some of which will be earmarked for financing the Port Lucie-based Tradition. And the studio is constructing a new 130,000 square-foot facility scheduled for completion at year’s end.

There is plenty of animation talent available in the region. Tradition has already signed former Disney vets and Florida natives Aaron Blaise and Chuck Williams (Brother Bear) to produce and direct (there are currently four “family friendly” projects in development at Tradition). Blaise and Williams previously worked at the Disney Florida studio, which reached a high point with Lilo & Stitch but shuttered after Brother Bear with the demise of hand-drawn animation. Plus DDMG, chaired by John Textor, has partnered with Florida State University on a degreed program at Digital Domain Institute, a special public/private collaboration that will help develop new talent.

 

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Movies, VFX

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