Valiant Takes Flight in London

Vanguard Animation today opens the doors to its full-scale computer animation film studio at London’s Ealing Studios. For the next 18 months, the studio will be in production on Valiant, Disney’s CG animated comedy about a brave carrier pigeon who gets a chance to prove his mettle during World War II.

Valiant is the first in a slate of animated films to be produced by Shrek producer John H. Williams of Vanguard Animation, and the first in Vanguard’s four-picture deal with Walt Disney Studios. All storyboarding, character design and production design to date has been created in Los Angeles, with many crewmembers moving to London to work on the animation. The crew will eventually employ more than 120, including both American and European animators.

The film is being directed by British character designer Gary Chapman, whose background includes creating dioramas for the Imperial War Museum in England. Exec. producers are Barnaby Thompson for Ealing Studios, Ralph Kamp for Odyssey Ent., Keith Evans for Baker Street Media Finance and Robert Jones for the U.K. Film Council. Co-producing are Eric M. Bennett, Curtis Augspurger and Buckley Collum for Vanguard.

Vanguard president Neil Braun previously served as president of NBC Television Network, chairman and chief executive of Viacom Ent., president of Imagine Films and co-creator of Silver Screens Partners. Marci Levine is VP of production for Vanguard.