American animation veteran Jim Ballantine is the new managing director of Flying Bark Studio, the Australian animation studio of Studio 100. Ballantine succeeds Eric Claeys, who left for Australia over a year ago to carry out a one-year reorganization assignment.
Ballantine has held various management posts at Disney and Nickelodeon and exec produced Bambi 2 and Brother Bear 2 and worked on numerous animated features including The Little Mermaid and The Rescuers Down Under. He also produced The Ren & Stimpy Show for Nickelodeon. He comes to Flying Bark after a two-year stint as creative producer for Animation Lab in Israel.
Flying Bark Studio is currently putting the finishing touches to the 26-part half-hour series, Enyo, in co-production with its Danish partner Funkhauser Films. The second series of the successful Dive Olly Dive, a co-production with Mike Young Productions, is also nearing completion. Also on the studio’s pipeline is Santa’s Apprentice, an animated c feature co-produced with French studio Alphanim, slated for Christmas 2010. A relaunch of Blinky Bill, the cartoon icon of Australia, with a full-length feature film and a series of 26 episodes, is also in the works for 2010.