Kramer joins Imagi Studios


Hong Kong-based CG-animation company Imagi Studios is ramping up its executive roster with, among others, the hiring of Cecil Kramer, former co-head of production at DreamWorks Animation.

The announcement Monday from company founder and CEO Francis Kao and co-CEO Douglas Glen came just days ahead of the release of its first major movie, "TMNT," an animated update of the hit "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" franchise.

Kramer joins Imagi as executive vp production, responsible for developing and producing a slate of high-end CG-animated features.

Maryann Garger and Lynne Southerland are on board as producers, while Mark Tarbox comes in as line producer, all reporting to Kramer, and all based in Sherman Oaks, Calif.

" 'TMNT' marks a new breed of CG animation -- big action films for people who love video games and superheroes," Kao said in making the announcement. "As we expand the capacity of our production pipeline in Hong Kong to make more of these movies, we're expanding our world-class creative team in Los Angeles."

"Starting with the release of (upcoming) 'Gatchaman,' we'll be delivering about one movie every eight months," Glen said. "Cecil has the talent, experience and management skills to guide us through this exciting growth period."

With more than 20 years of entertainment industry experience, Kramer most recently produced the animated feature film "Flushed Away," winner of five Annie Awards. She also served as executive producer on "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," which won the 2005 Academy Award for best animated feature film.

Garge, a co-producer on "Flushed Away," started at DreamWorks shortly after it was established in 1994. Southerland, who co-directed "Mulan 2," comes from a background in film editing. Her producer credits include the feature film "An Extremely Goofy Movie" and the HBO series "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child."

Tarbox was the production manager on "Flushed Away" and is a 10-year DreamWorks veteran.

The company's next two pictures, "Gatchaman" and "Astro Boy," are slated for release in 2008 and 2009, respectively.