There has been a lot of chatter on a certain message board about what is going on at Vanguard Animation in the UK. For those of you not familiar with this studio, they were put together by a few people. Most notably John Williams (one of the many producers on the first Shrek) and the folks from Menace FX. A lot of accusations, but mixed in all the mud flinging is some interesting information...
Williams, Ralph Kamp, the Menace folks, and Barnaby Thompson struck a deal with Disney to create a slate of CG films. The first one is called "Valiant" and is a story about World War 2 homing Pidgeons. Exciting huh? I've seen some of the film and it actually doesn't look half bad (visually). Definately not Pixar quality, but decent. The story also seems kind of odd, but I'll give it a fair chance when it is released.
Anyway, the hubbub is about Vanguard and how they were supposed to have a multi picture deal with Disney and keep the folks hired for many years to come. It appears that that may no longer be the case and after Valiant, the whole studio will be shut down. The hundreds of people that moved to the area to work on this project under the promises of future films are pretty pissed. Frankly, in this day and age of show hopping, they really shouldn't be surprised. This has happened all over the place, not just at Vanguard, and will continue to happen as people need to stay within budget.
What is more interesting to me is the relationship between Disney and Vanguard. Something really nasty must of happened between Disney and Vanguard. Or else Disney just thinks Valiant is just a piece of crap. I've heard rumors that it didn't turn out to be such a good marriage. Combine that rumor with this being the one and only project being done with Disney (after a multi-picture deal was struck), makes you wonder what is and did go on.
Vanguard is also partially owned by IDT Entertainment. If any of you have been reading my earlier blogs, you know all about IDT and their problematic adventures in CGI world domination. Could IDT be dragging another company down the drain? Somehow I doubt it. But, it makes for an interesting storyline.