SanFrancisco-based effects house The Orphanage has launched Orphanage AnimationStudios (OAS), a CG production division that will be headed up by GenndyTartakovsky, the Russian animator and creator behind the Cartoon Network's hitseries Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack and Dexter's Laboratory.

The company launches with a multi-million dollardevelopment fund raised through private equity and is actively developing aslate of CG feature projects in the $50m-$75m range to be directed byTartakovsky that will be announced shortly. Discussions are underway withseveral distribution channels.

Joining Genndyare art director and character designer Craig Kellman, the lead characterdesigner for Madagascar,as well as Emmy Award winning story artist Bryan Andrews, whose credits includeStar Wars: Clone Warsand Samurai Jack, andart director and background artist Justin Thompson, another Emmy-Award winnerfor Star Wars: Clone Wars.

Also joining areart director and character designer Paul Rudish, who also won an Emmy Award forhis work on Star Wars: Clone War, and Aaron Springer, the storyboard artist and writer on SpongebobSquarepants, Samurai Jack andThe SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.

OAS is actively seeking a new campus in the San Franciscoarea close to The Orphanage's visual effects facility to accommodate itsexpanding operations and house the estimated 200-300 artists needed for CGfeature production.

"After 13 yearsof television animation I've had the good fortune to work with some of thefinest talent in the industry," Tartakovsky said. "Now my story team and I havean opportunity to take that experience into feature films.

"Bringingtogether The Orphanage's expertise in visual-effects and computer animation andour creative vision in storytelling and design will form a unique andfulfilling partnership."

"Whether bystepping into George Lucas' shoes to write and direct the acclaimed StarWars: Clone Wars seriesor by establishing his trademark sense for cinematic action in Samurai Jack, Genndy has proven himself to be one ofthe most innovative and exciting voices in animation today," OAS chairman andOrphanage co-founder Scott Stewart added.

In addition to continuing on in their roles at TheOrphanage, chief executive officer Carsten Sorensen will join the new studio aschief executive officer and chief financial officer Daniel Gloates as chieffinancial officer.

The Orphanage was founded in 1999 by three ILM veteransand has gone on to create effects for such features as Sin City, The DayAfter Tomorrow, Hero, and Hellboy.

Tartakovsky is representedby the William Morris Agency. The Orphanage is represented by CAA and the lawfirm Katten Munchin & Rosenman.