Timothy Albee moved to Alaska after working on Disney’s DINOSAUR and created his own 22-minute CG short called KAZE, GHOST WARRIOR. He made the film not just to tell a story, but also to make a statement, namely that animators can create feature quality animation on their own personal computers for a fraction of the cost of studio features. Albee says that he spent only $5000 on the film. His production credits for KAZE are another strong indictment of the Hollywood system, highlighting the bureaucratic and archaic production system which plagues modern animated features. There’s more about Albee’s film in this article from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Tim also recently wrote a book about the film’s independent production process – CGI FILMMAKING: THE CREATION OF GHOST WARRIOR.
Next is a very different type of project. Sergio Pablos, an animator who worked at Disney Feature in both Paris and Burbank, has moved to Spain where he has become creative director of the Madrid-based studio Animagic. Here he’s produced a beautiful trailer for a hand-drawn animated film called GIACOMO’S SECRET (click on the “What we are doing” link). The film also has an intriguing story to support the artwork, however it’ll be a few more years before anybody can see the completed film. Sergio recently wrote a bit about the trailer on Animation Nation:
To answer some of your questions, it’s still too early to know whether or not the film will be released in the States. First we need to find out whether the film will get enough financing, although all signs are pointing to yes so far. In any case, the film wouldn’t go into production for another year or so. Unfortunatelly, that’s the way things work in Europe. You have to get companies from different countries involved in the project, then each of these companies requests funds from their own governments, and that can take a while. No private investor in Europe will ever produce an animated film on his own. And it doesn’t look like this is about to change either.
As for the trailer, it’s the work of one lay out artist, one BG painter, two animators (myself included), and a few people who chipped in by doing just about everything. It was a very low budget, and a very short schedule, but we were somehow able to finish it in time.
As for any other ex-Disney guys beside myself, the other animator was Borja Montoro, another Spaniard with whom I worked with at Disney Paris. Most of the character design work is also his. Very talented guy.