Lionsgate, Crest Animation heading 'North'

Stereoscopic 3D family film is second pic in companies' deal

Lionsgate Films and Crest Animation Studios are throwing on the snow shoes to go in search of "Norm of the North."

The stereoscopic 3D animated family film will be distributed by LGF in North America as the second movie in the companies' three-picture deal. Their first collaboration, the wolves-on-the-run adventure "Alpha and Omega," is scheduled for release in October.

Written by Steven and Daniel Altiere, "Norm" tells the story of the titular polar bear and his three Arctic lemming buddies, who are forced out into the world once their icy home begins melting and breaking apart. Landing in New York, Norm begins life anew as a performing corporate mascot, only to discover that his new employers are directly responsible for the destruction of his polar home.

Lionsgate exec vp family entertainment Ken Katsumoto is overseeing the project for the company; Crest Animation president of production Richard Rich is shepherding for Crest. An early 2012 release is planned.

"In its range of characters, locations and narrative, 'Norm of the North' offers a bounty of riches for family audiences," Katsumoto and LGF president of production Mike Paseornek said.

Added Crest Animation Prods. CEO Noah Fogelson, "This is a wonderful story full of humor and heart, and stereoscopic 3D technology will bring it vividly to life."

A CG-animated film, "Alpha and Omega" features the voices of Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Danny Glover, Dennis Hopper and Larry Miller. It was directed by Anthony Bell and Ben Gluck.

Lionsgate most recently released "Daybreakers" and "The Spy Next Door." The company's next release, the action-thriller "From Paris With Love," opens Friday.