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Adding new dimension

Imax pacts for animation figures in 3-D pic

Imax has struck a deal with DreamWorks, Fox and Sony Pictures that will bring Princess Bala from “Antz,” Bart Simpson and several original animated characters to three dimensional life in October with the release of the Imax feature “Cyberworld.”

The 45-minute pic, produced by Hugh Murray and Steve Hoban, stars “Dharma & Greg’s” Jenna Elfman as the voice of Phig, tour guide of a futuristic museum of animation. Like “Fantasia/2000,” “Cyberworld” is a collage of old and new footage. Scenes of Phig harried by computer bugs, created using Stereotscopic Animation Drawing Device technology in the Imax studio in Toronto, will be interspersed with clips from “Antz,” “The Simpson’s,” a Pet Shop Boys video and other 2-D animated sequences repurposed for the first time for exhibition in Imax 3-D.

The Imax character segments are directed by Colin Davies and the computer bug scenes are co-produced by Roman Kroitor and Steve Hoban.

Imax soon hopes to re-format an entire animated feature in its seven-story, proprietary 3-D technology, said co-CEO Bradley J. Wechsler. But when “Cyberworld” began germinating 15 months ago, it proved “quicker and more efficient” to solicit diverse clips from other animation shops.

Imax had no business model for sharing profits with several major studios, Wechsler added. “Everybody who contributes will get a participation.”

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