Chinese digital animation studio Original Force is expanding into Hollywood, opening a new motion picture division for its own projects and moving forward on the production of three animated films, Original Force founder Harley Zhao announced at a launch party at L.A. Live’s Triple8 China Bar & Grill on Aug. 12.
Original Force Animation has opened production offices in Culver City headed up by animation production veterans Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins. Finkelman Cox and Rabins have worked together on such hit films as “Shrek,” “Prince of Egypt,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” “Open Season” and “Surf’s Up.”
“There is no one more talented, skilled or experienced in leading animated films than Sandy and Penney,” said Zhao. “Each has had an extraordinary career, and their track record co-running DreamWorks Animation and Sony Pictures Animation has given them a completely unique perspective on building a contemporary animation studio from the ground up. Original Force is proud to have two partners with such impeccable credentials guiding our film team.”
Finkelman Cox said the company is looking to welcome an array of animation talent.
“When Harley approached us with this unique opportunity, he told us he wanted to build a new creative home for the world’s best storytellers, writers, directors, animators, digital artists and designers,” said Finkelman Cox. “Original Force Animation is a true global operation with a world perspective, and whether you are an established filmmaker or an emerging artist with a distinctive and fresh new voice, we want you to think of our company as a new destination where your best work can be nurtured and flourish.”
Original Force is currently in production on “Duck Duck Goose,” the story of an unlikely family, directed by Christopher Jenkins, who recently produced DreamWorks Animation’s “Home,” from a screenplay by Jenkins and Rob Muir. Voice talent includes Zendaya, Greg Proops and Lance Lim
“OldZilla” and “QQ Speed” are in the early stages of production. “OldZilla” follows King Saurus as he starts to deal with his advancing age and urges his elder monsters to go on one last rampage. Bob Bendetson (“The Simpsons”) is directing, and co-wrote the script with Art Everett.
“QQ Speed” is based on a popular online game and is a co-production with Tencent Holding, which is behind the game. The action-adventure follows a brother-and-sister racing team and their car equipped with a voice that sounds like their late father’s. John Eng (“Rugrats Go Wild”) is developing the project and will direct.
Other projects in Original Force’s pipeline are “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,” based on Grace Lin’s 2010 Newbery Honor book, and “Riding Giants,” to be adapted by Greg Johnson from his original manuscript.
Original Force was established in 1999 to provide state-of-the-art animation for several worldwide television and gaming clients, such as Disney, DreamWorks Television, Sony, Tencent, Activision and Electronic Arts. But now it wants to create its own.
“Harley has organically grown his business from a small startup of four to a thriving world-class animation services and production facility that is operating in five cities with a talented team that is nearly 1,000 strong,” said Rabins. “After years of successfully working as a studio-for-hire, Original Force is creating its own content and global IP, and we believe we have an inaugural slate that will resonate all over the world.”