Duncan Studio, Nelvana Duncan Studio, Nelvana

Duncan Studio, the Pasadena, California-based studio founded by animator Ken Duncan, has signed a development deal for original features with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana.

Here are the details:

Ken Duncan
Ken Duncan
  • Nelvana is eyeing the production of “high-quality animated feature films” and will invest in the development of features from Duncan Originals, the studio’s in-house production division, as well as films based on its own children’s IP and select third-party properties.
  • The first title to be developed under the partnership is Mother Nature, a character-driven action adventure created by Ken Duncan. The cg feature is described as “a richly layered sci-fi fantasy set in a futuristic society [that] explores its relationship to the natural world.”
  • Ken Duncan started out as an animator at Nelvana, no less, before working at studios in Europe, and eventually landing at Disney. At the latter, he gained recognition for his work as the supervising animator of Meg in Hercules, Jane in Tarzan, and Captain Amelia and Scroop in Treasure Planet.
  • In 2007, he founded Duncan Studio, which produces both hand-drawn and cg animation. The studio worked with Brad Bird on new scenes for The Iron Giant: Signature Edition, and animated the 2d sequences for Disney’s hybrid Mary Poppins Returns. Duncan Originals was launched in 2019.
  • Nelvana was founded in Toronto in 1971, and has since grown into one of the world’s most prominent producers and distributors of kids’ series. Its library of animated and live-action content runs to over 4,400 episodes. It has been owned by media conglomerate Corus Entertainment since 2000.
  • Recent months and years have seen a flurry of new initiatives to produce original animated features in the U.S. Earlier this week, for example, Spire Animation Studios made seven high-profile hires as it grows its team.
  • Doug Murphy, president and ceo of Corus Entertainment, said in a statement:

Our passion for bringing great stories to life is shared equally with our long-standing goal of expanding into animated feature films. We are excited to embark upon this new agreement and to leverage the acclaimed creative talents of Duncan Studio together with Nelvana’s robust portfolio of timeless, world-renowned animated characters and stories. Fully maximizing this caliber of premium animation expertise and our well-known IP advances our own more content strategy and provides us yet another path to reach audiences in new ways.

  • Ken Duncan added:

We are in a golden age for inventive, boundary-pushing animated stories and visual concepts. As Duncan Studio continues to imagine and develop new and exciting ideas and projects, our new relationship with Corus Entertainment provides the resources, scope, and scale to make our creative vision a reality. As a Canadian myself, this deal is especially significant, having begun my career as an animator at Nelvana. We are thrilled to work together as we develop this slate of original films.