Computer animation houses Solid PDA and Sunrise Productions have announced that they will be joining forces and that the Solid PDA team will move across Cape Town to Sunrise’s Westlake studio.
The two Computer Animation houses have been sharing work and ideas for the past 18 months and Solid PDA MD, Brad Stilwell, describes the merging of the two companies as a natural and extremely exciting progression.
“We’ve worked with the Sunrise guys for a while now, and the idea of a merger was first tabled in January this year. The synergies between our two groups have really made it a fairly easy decision for all of us. Although we have done some good work locally, we want to provide world class productions for the world market. There’s no doubt we’re better placed to do that now that we’ve brought all our various strengths into one collective group,” comments Stilwell.
Sunrise chief Phil Cunningham shares Stilwell’s enthusiasm and sees this merger as the first step in building a larger team to take on what could be South Africa’s most challenging CG animation production yet.
“Sunrise is co-producing a feature length movie called An African Tale together with US-based Animated Family Films Inc. We’ve completed the development work and a two-minute demo that looks outstanding, so now we’re gearing up for full production which will start in the first half of 2007. This is a project the Solid PDA guys wanted to be a part of, and we are going to need the skills they offer. In fact, we’re going to have to build a large team of international and local animators over the next six months, and so this is a very exciting time for all of us.”
Most CG animation work in SA is for the commercial market, with advertising and effects as the staple diet for most local animators. Both Sunrise and Solid PDA have established themselves as animation providers for the advertising industry and have also seen enormous potential in mobile entertainment. Cunningham explains the group’s approach to these markets now that An African Tale is set to dominate their next three years.
“An African Tale is huge. When you take on a film of this scale you’re shooting for a major international market, and that becomes pretty all-consuming. However, both Brad and I have ploughed massive time and effort into developing our credentials in the commercial sector and in building a platform for mobile entertainment. What really excites me is that both groups have had experience in managing productions so we’ve got the leadership in place to build a team that can cope with the demands of a feature film and keep growing our mobile and commercial business.”
Stilwell is looking forward to seeing South African animators working alongside top artists from Europe, the USA and Korea. “If you go to any studio in Hollywood working on a major motion picture, you’ll probably find that they’re drawing from the global talent pool. We’ve got some incredible local talent and this is a rare opportunity for these animators to work on a project of this scale, and to work alongside guys with different backgrounds and skills. It’s tremendously exciting and if we can get the South African industry into the international spotlight, that’s going to be excellent for everyone.”