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Sony Imageworks opens visual effects studio in Chennai

Chennai, April 10 (IANS) Imageworks India, the Indian arm of Sony Pictures Imagework, Thursday announced opening of its state-of-the-art facility in Chennai.

Published: Thursday,Apr 10, 2008 20:27 PM GMT-06:00
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Chennai, April 10 (IANS) Imageworks India, the Indian arm of Sony Pictures Imagework, Thursday announced opening of its state-of-the-art facility in Chennai.

The Chennai facility has about 90 artists and technical experts and would be scaled up to 180 workers, the company said here. It also has seven animation experts.

'In the first year of operation, our primary goal has been to integrate our India operations into our Culver City production workflow,' said Tim Sarnoff, president of Sony Pictures Imageworks.

'Artists are no longer afraid of technology, especially in India,' he said.

'I hope to create a cohesive work group,' Joe Gareri, general manager and executive director in charge of operations in India, told IANS.

Before joining Imageworks, Gareri worked with Pacific Titles and in the films like the three sequels of 'Pirates of the Caribbean', 'Catwoman', 'Men in Black' and several other titles.

Founded in 1992, Imageworks - a component of the US-based Sony Pictures Digital Production - acquired 50.1 percent stake in FrameFlow (India) Private Ltd., at a cost of $5 million last year.

FrameFlow was founded three years ago by the promoters of Shasun Chemicals, the Chennai-based pharma company and first worked Imageworks on films such as 'Click', 'Ghost Rider' and 'Spiderman-3'.

Globally, Sony Imageworks is doing business worth nearly $7 billion, and has captured 37 percent of the box office for global visual work. Imageworks has production studios in Culver City, California, and New Mexico, and now in Chennai.

'One of my priorities will be to ensure multitasking training for the workforce in India and integrate the working timeframe with our Culver City studio,' Garei said.

'We lose two work days, if the time zones are not integrated smoothly,' he said. The Chennai facility will work seamlessly with the Culver City facility in the visual effects of seven Hollywood films, now under production.

Imageworks has done the visual effects for 'Spiderman', 'Monster House', 'Stuart Little', 'The Chronicles of Narnia' and several other academy award winning films.

Its most recent films have been 'Ghost Rider', 'Beowulf' and 'I Am Legend'. In 'I Am Legend', the Indian team worked on the Time Square Meadow scene in which Will Smith is seen in a ruined grass-grown Time Square.

'Our team is now working on the next release, a film called Hancock', said Krishnakant Mishra, who was creative supervisor for films like 'Lord of The Rings', and is the creative director of Imageworks India.

Sanroff, who came to Imageworks from Warner Digital Studios, a Warner Bros. organisation says, 'a successful film is one person's imagination vended by 50 others'.

'Film-makers are today getting very good at describing exactly what they want,' Sanroff said.

'Film-makers have got the vocabulary of expression and artists have also learnt the vocabulary. At the end of it we are all storytellers.

'It is finally the great visual effects supervisors like Kevin Mack and Ken Ralston who are able to bring to life the images of the filmmaker's story.'

His vision of the future, 'gaming and film will come closer'.

Sanroff, who has seen Bollywood films like 'Krish' and 'Chak De', said: 'Imageworks is in the business of visualising, whether it is Hollywood film or Bollywood film or one made in Hong Kong or elsewhere.'

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