×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fine-tooning moves

Orphanage's a home for Cartoon Net's Tartakovsky

F/x house the Orphanage has adopted Cartoon Network animator Genndy Tartakovsky to spearhead its move into the crowded feature toon arena.

Tartakovsky, who created “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack” and directed the Emmy-winning “Star Wars: Clone Wars,” will be prexy of creative at Orphanage Animation Studios, a new company the f/x house’s founders are forming in San Francisco.

Helmer has tapped several top animators to serve as his core team, and the group is now developing a handful of projects. They’ll soon pick the first one to go into production, which Tartakovsky will direct.

Orphanage co-founder Scott Stewart is overseeing most business ops for the toon studio and will serve as chairman. Carsten Sorensen and Daniel Gloates, CEO and chief financial officer of the f/x house, will serve in the same role at Orphanage Animation.

Company has raised several million dollars from private equity investors to fund development and is now in talks with studios in hopes of securing a distribution deal and raising production coin.

Popular on Variety

It’s aiming to bring films in for $50 million-$75 million — substantially less than the $100 million-plus Pixar and DreamWorks Animation typically spend. Execs say they hope creative team’s experience working on lower-cost TV productions, as well as Orphanage’s existing tech infrastructure, will help them keep spending down.

“After 14 years in TV, I was burned out and wanted to express longer stories and experience them with an audience,” Tartakovsky said of the new venture. “We’ll do family comedies, but we also really want to push action-adventure beyond where it has been.”

Helmer said he also talked to Lucasfilm and its ILM effects house before making a deal with Orphanage.

His first feature project was supposed to be CG/live action mix “Astro Boy” for Sony. He wrote a script, but pic never went into production.

Orphanage Animation is being built on a model similar to Pixar, with execs hoping Tartakovsky will be the John Lasseter figure who will helm the first film or two and then oversee a team of inhouse creative talent developing future pics.

It’s also following a path forged by Fox’s Blue Sky and DreamWorks Animation’s PDI, both of which were f/x houses before moving into CG animation.

A number of other players are moving into CG animation in the next few years, including Sony Pictures’ Imageworks effects facility, IDT Entertainment and several smaller players.

“We don’t think that we’re going to be successful just because we have a lot of technology,” Stewart said. “By getting someone like Genndy who has proven himself, we think we separate ourselves from the pack of other startups.”

Orphanage is aiming to release its first pic in 2008, with a new movie every 18 months thereafter.

More Film

  • Sylvie's Love Review

    'Sylvie's Love': Film Review

    Sultry music swells as the camera swoons over a young couple in a tender nighttime embrace. The 1950s residential New York City street is carefully rain-slicked and lined with shiny classic cars: an obvious stage set. Gene Kelly might just have swung on that lamppost; Doris Day might lean out of an upstairs window to sigh [...]

  • Martin Scorsese Irishman BTS

    Martin Scorsese's Body of Work Extends Far Beyond Male-Centric Mafia Movies

    Actors sometimes complain about being typecast, but it’s a fact of life for anyone in entertainment. John Ford is usually labeled a director of Westerns, despite “The Grapes of Wrath” and  “Mister Roberts.” David Lean is known for his epics, but he also directed “Brief Encounter” and “Summertime.” Vincente Minnelli? The director of musicals, overlooking [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Will Oscar Campaigning Turn to Mudslinging?

    On March 5, 1963, Army Archerd wrote in Variety: “There’s been a not-so-subtle campaign pyramiding since Oscar nominations that Omar Sharif is an ex-Egyptian soldier who fought in the Israeli War. Forget it: Omar sez: ‘I never fought in any army.’” Archerd also denied the rumor that Sharif was Muslim. Two big takeaways: 1. Mudslinging [...]

  • Blake Lively

    Why Blake Lively Isn't Trying to Be the 'Female James Bond' in 'The Rhythm Section'

    “The Rhythm Section,” Reed Morano’s new espionage thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her family’s untimely death, is not a female-led approximation of a “James Bond” film. Though Barbara Broccoli, the magnate producer whose family has been solely responsible for the franchise, is producing the movie, “The Rhythm Section” is decidedly not [...]

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez. Kristen Anderson-Lopez,

    Kristen Anderson-Lopez Talks Responsibility, Representation in 'Frozen 2' and the Biz

    Gender parity isn’t an issue in Oscar-winning songwriting-composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s house, what with her longstanding collaboration with husband Bobby Lopez, but at the Oscars luncheon on Monday, it was a different story. “There were 13 female directors represented in the shorts and documentary fields,” Anderson-Lopez notes, adding, “but how do we get from there to [...]

  • 2020 Oscar Presenters: Zazie Beetz, Timothée

    Timothée Chalamet, Zazie Beetz, Gal Gadot Join List of 2020 Oscar Presenters

    Show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain have announced additional presenters for the 92nd Academy Awards telecast. Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran and Kristen Wiig will be presenting statuettes during the evening’s ceremony. Though none are nominated for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content