DreamWorks India

DreamWorks, one of the largest animation studios in the world and makers of movies, including Madagascar, Shrek, and more recently, Kung Fu Panda, rolled out its operations in Bangalore last week and has completed the first round of talent acquisition for its India operations.
Shelly Page, head of international outreach at DreamWorks, which is also globally in talks with Reliance ADAG to set up a new movie venture, said the new recruits in India will be completely integrated with artists in California - the DreamWorks headquarters. "My role is to look for talent who will join us internationally, including for the two studios in California and now for our new set-up in Bangalore," said Page. She said DreamWorks started looking at India many years ago and was attracted by talent that already existed here. Page said that they will go beyond the existing talent in Indian studios and look at the next generation of talent coming out of animation schools. Currently, the studio has hired 13 animation graduates from France for the Bangalore office, along with 25 senior level professionals from various studios in India. In the first phase, the studio will house around 40 employees, which will be eventually be expanded to 150.
"We hired these graduates last October and trained them in Paris," said Page. To begin with, the team will work on a television series called Mad Santa for the US television network NBC.
This series will have characters from DreamWorks' blockbuster movie Madagascar. The production work will start by the beginning of 2009 and the series will be released in America during Christmas of 2009.
"Another reason why we looked at India is because next year, internationally we will be completely moving towards a 3D stereo format," said Page.Therefore, the company will be able to release only one movie - Monsters Vs Aliens. However, in 2010, the studio plans to release at least three movies, including Shrek Goes Fourth and How to Train a Dragon. The India operation "gives us a chance to expand our production environment," said Page.
Page also said it's very difficult for them to expand in California for a variety of reasons, and most importantly, since the talent pool there is "heavily fished" by competitors like Disney, Pixar, and Sony. "We have supervisors trained at DreamWorks, who will exclusively work on our projects in India," said Page. The team will be equivalent to the teams in California and will not be an outsource model. DreamWorks in currently sharing office space with another animation studio Paprikaas, which has been acquired by Technicolor - an international media conglomerate."It's a very unique situation," said Page. DreamWorks is the creative partners for Technicolor in India. However, it is not know if there is a revenue sharing arrangement.

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