Animation veterans Penney Finkelman Cox and Sandra Rabins are departing Original Force Animation, two years after helping the Chinese digital animation studio expand into Hollywood.
The duo announced their departure Friday, noting that they wish to return to producing after overseeing Original Force’s animated comedy “Duck Duck Goose,” starring Jim Gaffigan. Open Road will release the film on April 20.
“Launching Original Force Animation was a true global effort and we can’t wait for audiences to finally have the chance to see and appreciate the artistry behind ‘Duck Duck Goose,’ which is a very special film,” they said. “With Original Force up and running with a strong team in place, we chose to transition back to what we love most, which is producing high quality family projects.”
Finkelman Cox and Rabins have strong credentials within the animation world as key executives in launching Sony Pictures Animation and DreamWorks Animation. In a message to staff, CEO Harley Zhao said the duo would be working with Original Force on the upcoming animated project “Ten Lives.”
“I would like to thank Penney and Sandy for their creative leadership, vision and tenacity in turning Original Force into a first class international animation company,” he said. “Having launched us from our start-up phase and seen us through the delivery of our first film, Sandy and Penney will be following their passion and returning to their roots as producers. They will continue to be key creative partners with us at Original Force as they produce our next animated feature, “Ten Lives.'”
Zhao also said he would continue to lead Original Force 3D Animation in the creative decision making process and that Nina Bass will be responsible for the day-to-day studio operations and David Orecklin will continue to serve as Vice President of Production.
“Original Force is a studio that houses top talent,” he added. “We will never lose sight of what is truly important to our success, our employees.”
Original Force was established in 1999 to provide state-of-the-art animation for television and gaming clients, such as Disney, DreamWorks Television, Sony, Tencent, Activision and Electronic Arts. It moved into production in 2015 with the opening of the Los Angeles operation.
Finkelman Cox and Rabins have worked together on such films as “Shrek,” “Prince of Egypt,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs,” “Open Season” and “Surf’s Up.”