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Two animation firms close in Singapore
By Patrick Frater
Fri, 07 January 2011, 15:46 PM (HKT)
Two Singapore-based animation companies have closed down in recent days.
Egg Story Creative Production announced its demise and the redundancy of some 30 staff in the week before Christmas. That was followed by the announcement that a rescue attempt at Storm Lion, which had dismissed most of its staff earlier in the year, had finally proved fruitless.
Launched in 2005 by Nickson Fong (pictured) an animator with credits on Hollywood pictures including Shrek, Starship Troopers, Godzilla, Stuart Little, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, Egg Story was working on two productions.
Its Kung Fu Gecko was the story of a lizard and his friends who take on a bad guy in order to save the world. Chop Chops was a tale of ghost-hunting kung-fu masters.
Gecko was originally conceived as a $30 million (S$39 million) CG-animated feature movie and unleashed a trailer in 2005. But, operating without a studio-level distributor, the company was forced to re-format it as a TV series. Production was about 40% complete at the time of closure.
(It is understood that the Egg Story Digital Arts School has separate management and funding and is not affected by the closure.)
Storm Lion, headed by Edmund Shern, was set up as a multimedia firm producing content for graphic novels, games, films and animation. It achieved a milestone in 2009 when its Freedom Formula comic series was signed up with Bad Hat Harry Productions and Radical Pictures for New Regency Pictures to distribute through 20th Century Fox and X-Men's Bryan Singer to produce and direct.
Pitched as a kind of Top Gun with exosuits instead of planes, the script was in its second draft and the film tentatively set for a 2013 delivery.
Shern, himself a former Radical executive, ran into funding difficulties and in July last year laid off staff in Singapore and the US and cancelled a planned splash at the San Diego ComiCon.
But with a slate of projects that included Titan Rain (a film in collaboration with Japan's Production IG) and Kiss: Carnival of Souls (a Las Vegas live show with aging glam rock band Kiss and Radical's Radical Music subsidiary) the company was soon involved in rescue talks. These have now proved fruitless.
With financial incentives from the Media Development Authority, Singapore has seen the establishment of some 40 animation and effects companies including Lucasfilm and the UK's Double Negative. However, two others have closed in the past year; Big Communications and Mega Media. Big was contracted to produce the Dinosaur Train TV series for the Jim Henson Company. Mega Media was an investor in another TV series Katakune.