Rumors start making their way around the Internet last night, on websites like FirstShowing.net and the Animation Guild blog, that the LA animation studio Imagi was temporarily shutting down operations. As mentioned on the Brew last month, the studio has been experiencing a multitude of financial problems.
The Anime News Network has now confirmed with the president of Imagi, Erin Corbett, that only the animators of Astro Boy have been asked to stop coming to work, while the rest of the staff continues to develop other projects such as Gatchaman and Tusker. Additionally, nobody is working at Imagi’s Hong Kong facilities this week though they say that was already planned because of Chinese New Year’s holidays. Most of the studio’s animation staff is in Hong Kong so it is unclear how many artists were asked to stop coming to work at its LA branch. The studio expects more funding to come through this week so that everybody can return to work soon. The uncertainty about the studio’s future isn’t helped by the fact that their website has been taken down completely at the time of this writing.
UPDATE: Kevin Koch, president of the Animation Guild, posted in our comments with new information that says ALL of the artists at LA’s Imagi’s office have been told not to come to work this week. The studio’s president Corbett had previously told Anime News Network that only the “animation team” had been asked not to report to work. Here is the full text of Koch’s comment: