If this newly released teaser for Door Guardians makes one thing clear, it’s that Western feature-quality computer animation has arrived in China. In fact, the Beijing-based studio responsible for the film, Light Chaser Animation, has made it its mission to create Western quality animation in China.
Founded by web entrepreneur Gary Wang, Light Chaser has worked closely with American artists like former Pixar and ILM animator Colin Brady to set up its production pipeline. As we reported last August, the tech-savvy studio used a telepresence robot to allow Brady to work with them from his Los Angeles home.
“Most Chinese animation companies are from either a 2D animation background or live-action feature films,” explained Light Chaser visual effects supervisor Han Lei, formerly of DreamWorks Animation, to China Animation & Game Network. “But we were formed by Gary [Wang] who is from a technology background. So we look at the early time of Pixar, a technology driven company, for inspiration…We spent a lot of time on the pipeline trying to recreate the Hollywood quality…Quality is our most important concern.”
Rooted in Chinese traditions, Door Guardians is a folktale/fantasy-influenced film aimed primarily at young adult Chinese audiences. The film has a significant budget by Chinese standards; it will reportedly cost around $12 million with a similar budget for marketing. The teaser indicates a release date of January 2016.
Below is Light Chaser’s first public project, the short Little Yeyos, which has been viewed over 30 million times on Chinese social media:
(Thanks, Markham Carroll, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook group)