Paramount and Nickelodeon Animation have chosen Flying Bark Productions, an Australian-European animation studio, as the animator for the first of three untitled Avatar films.
The film will be directed by Young Justice director Lauren Montgomery, and produced by Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, the creators behind Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Little is known about the film’s story details, other than that it will be based on the same universe established in Last Airbender and Korra.
While Aussies might not recognise the name of Flying Bark, it’s likely that you’ll know their work: they created The Adventures of Blinky Bill, a classic children’s animated series that ran from 1993 to 2004.
In more recent years, Flying Bark has assisted in the creation of the 2018 animated series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the 2020 LEGO show, Monkie Kid. They also solidified their animation prowess with their work on Marvel’s What If…?, series, with What If… Dr Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?, being nominated for an Emmy.
Flying Bark describes the Avatar movie series as, “[pushing] the style and boundaries of hybrid animation [..] it will couple traditional 2D animation with substantial CG elements.
The director of production for Flying Bark, Alex Gates-Foale, expressed the studio’s excitement for being given the chance to work on the series.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are two of the most iconic animated series of our time and we are simply thrilled to play a part in bringing this new story to life,” she said.
“With a company full of creatives and super fans, the Avatar feature is a dream project for the team at Flying Bark.”
The news comes after the New South Wales government announced that it would provide financial support to Flying Bark Productions as part of its Jobs Plus Program, which has allowed the studio to begin a multi-million dollar expansion of its facility in Alexandria, Sydney.
This seems to be part of a greater trend of government support for artistic endeavours in NSW, particularly in the film industry: Taika Waititi’s Love and Thunder was filmed in the state, alongside George Miller’s upcoming Mad Max prequel, Furiosa.
It’s good that animation is getting some support from the government, and it will be interesting to see the projects that emerge from this relationship in the future. Flying Bark may even take the reins with the other two Avatar films, but it’s still too early to tell.
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