Exec leaves Disney Animation after a year

After just a year with Disney Animation, Erika Burton will return to Rhythm & Hues as co-prexy of the company’s film division.

Burton was with the visual effects and animation house for 10 years before joining Disney as VP of production. Her return comes as the company continues its push to develop original content.

Lee Berger, prexy of Rhythm & Hues’ film division, said it was important to rehire Burton because she already knows how the company works and understands its plans for the future.

“Our management layer here is pretty thin for a company of this size,” Berger said of Rhythm & Hues, which has approximately 1,300 employees. “And as I looked around, it just made sense to bring Erika back because she was familiar with everything.”

Berger said Burton’s experience will also be essential as the company starts to develop its own original content, which he hopes will become an additional revenue stream in tough economic times for the vfx business.

Rhythm & Hues, based in El Segundo, also recently touted plans for two new divisions in Taiwan.

One will be a production facility that will house up to 200 digital artists and staff. The other is planned as a cloud computing center called Cloud for Animation and Visual Effects. The idea is to increase the company’s processing capacity and sell some of those resources to smaller vfx and animation houses.

“The Hunger Games,” “Cabin in the Woods” and “Big Miracle” feature Rhythm & Hues’ work. Upcoming productions using its vfx include “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Sea of Monsters.”

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