Jett (jatg) wrote,
Jett
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Lest we forget...

Mouse House shutters Orlando animation unit
Mon Jan 12, 7:00 PM ET

Because this is the best paragraph the whole article, I'm placing it in front of the cut:


"Closure of the Walt Disney Florida Feature Animation facility is yet another example of Michael Eisner's de-emphasis of creativity and total indifference to the impact his decisions have on the people who helped to make the company great," Disney wrote on his SaveDisney.com Web site. "Once again, the Eisner regime has emphasized short-term gains over long-term value.

"The drain of talent over the past several years from the company's feature animation department in Orlando, Burbank, Paris and Tokyo has been absolutely gut-wrenching," continued Disney, who is the nephew of studio founder Walt Disney. "People are being asked to leave because management -- particularly Michael - can't figure out what to do with them. That certainly is not the fault of the talent. It is the fault of the so-called strategic thinkers at headquarters."



The move --- which had been expected and will result in an unspecified number of layoffs --- was characterized as the final stage of a restructuring of the Mouse House's toon operations.

Previous moves include the layoff of hundreds of animators in Burbank over the past few years as well as last year's closing of toon shops in Paris and Tokyo.

Some Orlando animators were invited to transfer to the studio's main animation unit in Burbank, where all animation ops are being consolidated.

"The Florida studio houses talented artists and staff," said David Stainton, Mouse's feature animation prexy. "(But) this difficult decision was based on what is best strategically for our business in both the short and long term. Having the entire animation group working together in Burbank under one roof will further enhance our filmmaking process."

Shuttering of the Florida facility was anticipated ever since Disney decided to stop work on "A Few Good Ghosts," a proposed feature toon that was to be produced in Orlando. That left precious little to occupy the facility's roughly 250 employees.

Some 600 animators work in Burbank, a number to be bolstered by some Floridians. The Orlando facility helped produce Mouse pics including "Mulan," "Lilo & Stitch" and "Brother Bear."

Disney's animation work force is primarily oriented toward traditional cel animation, but the Mouse intends to boost its ability to perform computer-generated projects internally.

One such project is the recently announced "A Day With Wilbur Robinson," planned for 2006 (Daily Variety, Jan. 12). Current Burbank projects also include traditional tooner "Chicken Little," set for a 2005 release.

Execs are in negotiations with Pixar about extending a current co-production relationship with the Northern California animation studio. The current Disney-Pixar pact will expire in 2005.

Roy Disney, who chaired Disney's feature animation division until ankling that post and the Mouse board in late November, Monday slammed Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner for the decision to shut the Orlando animation facility.

"Closure of the Walt Disney Florida Feature Animation facility is yet another example of Michael Eisner's de-emphasis of creativity and total indifference to the impact his decisions have on the people who helped to make the company great," Disney wrote on his SaveDisney.com Web site. "Once again, the Eisner regime has emphasized short-term gains over long-term value.

"The drain of talent over the past several years from the company's feature animation department in Orlando, Burbank, Paris and Tokyo has been absolutely gut-wrenching," continued Disney, who is the nephew of studio founder Walt Disney. "People are being asked to leave because management -- particularly Michael - can't figure out what to do with them. That certainly is not the fault of the talent. It is the fault of the so-called strategic thinkers at headquarters."

Copyright © 2003 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Variety is a registered trademark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc. and used under license. All Rights Reserved.



__________
Take your hat off folks. Traditional Animation at Disney is offically dead.
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