Lucasfilm in Asia

Leave it to George Lucas to attempt putting an artistic spin on outsourcing. About his newly formed Lucasfilm animation facility in Singapore, here’s what he had to say:

“I’ve been a fan of Asian animation and illustration all my life. Asian cinema has had a particularly big impact on a lot of my work. When we began thinking about developing new ways to explore the craft of animation, it seemed a natural step to combine the two. By having a base in Singapore, we can create a new style of animation that will blend East and West and offer something not seen before.”

Oh, I get it, so the reason Lucas is starting a studio in Singapore is because he wants to incorporate Asian influences into his animation. And of course, whenever I hear the words “Asian animation” the first country that pops to mind is Singapore. Can anybody even name an original animated production or comic from Singapore that’s made it into the West? If this lofty artistic declaration were the true motivating factor behind the new Asian arm of Lucasfilm, then it would have made far more sense to launch the studio in a country like Japan which has both a rich history of producing innovative animation and a large pool of top-notch talent to draw upon. The far more obvious explanation for Lucasfilm’s arrival in Singapore can be found in this sentence from Monday’s VARIETY article: “Singapore facility is backed by a consortium of investors based in the country, including government agencies the Economic Development Board and Creative Technology, which are providing funding and advice.” Nobody’s going to disagree that it makes financial sense for Lucasfilm to launch a studio in Asia, but trying to validate it as some noble-minded creative choice is disingenuous and lessens Lucas’ artistic integrity (or whatever remains of his artistic integrity after RADIOLAND MURDERS and HOWARD THE DUCK).
[Thanks to Gary S. for the article link]