Sony opens Imageworks India studio


NEW DELHI -- Sony Pictures Imageworks subsidiary Imageworks India has launched a visual effects production house in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

Imageworks India was formed last year when Sony Pictures Imageworks acquired a 50.1% stake in Chennai-based VFX/animation studio Frameflow (HR 2/21/07) for a reported $5 million and renamed the company.

Marking its first anniversary, the facility at the International IT Park in Chennai opened its doors Thursday to more than 180 film-effects artists directed by Krishnakant Mishra and veteran VFX producer and postproduction executive Joe Gareri, whose credits include "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift" and "Shooter."

Imageworks India has already contributed to "Spider-Man 3" and "I Am Legend," which in March won a visual effects prize from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Best Animated Frames in Mumbai.

Sony Pictures Imageworks president Tim Sarnoff said the primary goal for the first year is to integrate the India operation into the Culver City production workflow.

"We've accomplished this by training lead artists from India and mirroring the Culver City production pipeline in Chennai," Sarnoff said.

In addition to visual effects work, artists in India now contribute to production in all of Imageworks' pipelines, including all computer-generated animation, performance capture and 3-D stereoscopic production.