European-Australian firm Flying Bark Productions has been appointed as the animator of the first of three untitled Avatar films from Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation.
The film series, derived from the Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra animated series, originally created for Nickelodeon by Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, was announced earlier this year.
The first feature will be directed by Lauren Montgomery, with Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino producing.
Flying Bark, which is based in Belgium and has major facilities in Sydney, Australia, describes the film series as: (pushing) the style and boundaries of hybrid animation, it will couple traditional 2D animation with substantial CG elements.
The company is experienced in cross-medium animation and worked on the recent Marvel show What If… Dr Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?, which was nominated for an Emmy.
The company, which also has credits on Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and LEGO Monkie Kid, already counts 350 employees. It will staff up further in Sydney for the film. It announced that it is seeking to recruit artists across several 2D animation and CG departments and begin work in 2023.
“With a company full of creatives and super fans, the Avatar feature is a dream project for the team at Flying Bark,” said Flying Bark Productions director of production Alexia Gates-Foale. “This really is an exciting time for the Australian animation industry, and we look forward to welcoming new talent to our studio in Sydney as well as further developing our incredible team of artists.”