Z Animation Opens in N.Y., L.A.

Veteran exec. producer Peter Barg has founded Z Animation (www.zanimation.tv), a new production house specializing in television commercials. With production offices in both New York and Los Angeles, the company will employ an award-winning roster of 16 directors, graphic artists and illustrators.

Most recently, Barg served as head of production at Acme Filmworks. Veterans he has signed on to work at Z Animation include the team of Vincent Cafarelli and Candy Kugel, who have been creating award-winning animated shorts since 1987, and whose work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the New York Public Library. They have directed commercials for Burger King, Frito Lay, American Airlines, CIBA Pharmaceuticals, Chef Boy Ar-Dee, Southwest Bell, NBC, ABC, CBS, MTV, HBO and many others.

Also available for spot work is Bruce Schluter, former creative director at R/Greenberg Associates in New York. Schluter’s credits include campaigns for Lethal Weapon, Independence Day, The Matrix, and spots for BF Goodrich and Gillette. CG director Larry Bafia has directed spots for Coca-Cola, Intel, Kraft, Circle K and Saturn, with film credits that include Antz, Batman and Robin, MI2 and Mars Attacks.

Other Z directors include the legendary team of Oscar Grillo and Ted Rockley, who have six decades of international animation and illustration experience between them; Oscar-winning clay animator Jimmy Picker (Sundae in New York); Australian animator/creative director/designer director Neil Goodridge, whose short Pa took prizes last year at the Zagreb’s Animafest and Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay; British live-action/animation specialist Gill Bradley; indie filmmaker Jeff Scher, known for his painting-on-film techiques; and Italian director Rosana Liera, director of the short The Fish Hunter, which earned her major prizes at a half-dozen festivals last year.

Longform directors also form part of the Z Animation equation. Joining the company are Xeth Feinberg, creator and director of Showtime’s Queer Duck; 3D and CGI director Jordan Reichek (Invader Zim, The Groovenians); and three-time Emmy-winning director/designer/writer and artist Liz Holzman.

Of particular interest is the crop of world-famous illustrators Z has assembled to provide a crossover between design and direction. That group includes two icons from The New Yorker: Edward Sorel, creator of 41 cover illustrations, and cartoon editor Lee Lorenz. Also included are designer/writer Norm Bendell; large-format illustrator James Yang; John Cuneo, and Nishan Akgulian.

Peter Barg spent ten years at McCann-Erickson in New York and another ten at D’Arcy/St. Louis, producing domestic and international campaigns for AT&T, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Anheuser-Busch, Mars, Inc., Blockbuster and RJ Reynolds. Most recently, he worked with Oscar-winning animation director Michael Dudok de Wit and agency Y&R for AT&T Long Distance, as well as with Oscar nominee Joanna Quinn on Publicis’s popular Charmin campaign. He also worked with the Oscar-nominated team of Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis on Earthlink’s "Darwin" spot for TBWAChiat Day.