Two new animation studios are setting up shop on Canada’s east coast as a result of Halifax-based imX communications and Ottawa’s Funbag Animation Studios and PIP Animation Services joining forces to create Helix Animation. The merged toonco will operate out of Halifax- and Sydney, Nova Scotia-based Helix Digital.
Helix Animation will perform layout, design and posing services, and Helix Digital, which officially gets off the ground in October, is the digital ink and paint part of the operation.
First up on the studio’s production slate are two TV series and one feature-length film. Crafty Cow is based on a character from The Real Howard Spitz film (starring Kelsey Grammer) and is budgeted at about US$265,000 per episode. A co-production between imX and London-based John Cary Animations, this 13 x half-hour, cel-animated series for kids ages three to eight centers around a bovine detective. Crafty Cow is currently in the early development stage.
For Better or For Worse is a 13 x half-hour, 2-D animated series based on the comic strip by Lynn Johnston. Also budgeted at about US$265,000 per episode, the series will be broadcast on Canada’s Teletoon next fall and is geared to a family audience.
The Other Side of The Pole is a co-production between Funbag Animation Studios and imX. The 2-D animated Christmas musical feature is slated for a Christmas 2001 delivery. A distribution deal with Vancouver-based Red Sky Entertainment is in the works. The approximately US$3.3-million family-oriented film goes into production in the spring. SY