CG animation house CritterPix Studios has tapped talent from Pixar, ILM, Tippett Studios and Don Bluth Films to produce its first feature-length film, Ollie the Otter. Budgeted at a modest $30 million, the film about a sea otter and his oceanic friends is being produced in association with New Regency Prods. and with $2.1 million in private financing through Laidlaw & Co.
CritterPix CEO Kelly Williamson says veteran animation producer and Don Bluth Films alum Gary Goldman will play an instrumental role in managing the production and motivating the animators. “Gary is also masterful at minding a budget, Williamson comments. "For example, he brought An American Tail in for just $9.5 million and The Land Before Time for $12.5 million.”
Goldman has more than 20 animated feature films to his credit, including The Secret of NIMH, Anastasia and Titan A.E. He was also a creative force behind Don Bluth’s classic video games, Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace.
Also joining the team is Chris Rock, who served as technical director on the Pixar productions Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and the upcoming Cars. Rock has signed on as CG supervisor for Ollie the Otter.
From Tippett Studios comes Nathaniel Hunter, who will supervise the visual effects for the CritterPix production. At Tippett, he designed CG effects on the films Son of the Mask, Hellboy and Constantine.
At Industrial Light & Magic (Lucas Digital), Sandra Joy Lee worked on Saving Private Ryan, Space Cowboys, Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars: Episodes I, II, and III. She joins the Ollie team as production asset developer lead and specializes in moving image media and database management.
Prior to founding CritterPix, Williamson worked in the technology field, serving as exec VP of sales for semiconductor company Intellon Corp., Internet call waiting service provider BuzMe.com and DVD chipset producer Divio Inc. Williamson is also an accomplished screenwriter and author of Ollie the Otter, a children’s book on which the film is based.