Production arm to bow with 'Vortex'

Indie f/x shop Foundation Imaging has started an inhouse production arm, Revenge Prods., to develop original motion picture and TV projects featuring its own special-effects work.

The Valencia-based biz already has two projects in production.

The first is a computer-generated sci-fi pic, “Vortex,” budgeted at $22 million, about a secret military unit that battles an alien race on Earth.

Company plans to distribute pic in 2000. Co-founders Ron Thornton and Paul Bryant are exec producing, with Thornton also penning the script with Steve Burg. Foundation is financing most of the budget, with the rest coming from private investors.

Principal photography has also begun on Revenge’s “The Universe and Harry Morgann,” a one-hour, $750,000 live-action TV pilot about five individuals who travel through space and right injustices. Revenge hopes to sell pilot, being shot in high-definition form, to distributors this fall.

Cast includes William Kempe (“Red Corner”), Lisa Akey (“Models Inc.”), Ethan Erickson (“Jawbreaker”), Marc McClure (“Back to the Future”) and Jennifer Sommerfield.

Announcement comes a month after f/x powerhouse Digital Domain said it will begin producing its own slate of pics (Daily Variety, March 9), and at a time when smaller indie shops — Peter Kuran’s Visual Concept Engineering and Flat Earth Prods. — are also dabbling with original efforts.

Thornton and Bryant describe the move as “the future of visual effects companies.”

Foundation’s credits include creating computer-generated visuals for a number of pics (“Contact,” “The Jackal”) and TV series (“Star Trek: Voyager,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”). Shop opened its doors in 1992.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more