In an aggressive effort to tap into growing domestic and global marketplaces for animated entertainment, China has opened its first coal-fired animation studio in southern Guangdong province. Government officials proclaimed that by 2018, the new studio, Splendorful Gray Valley Productions, will generate more than 15,000 minutes of 3D family-friendly animation per year, fueled by a state-of-the-art coal burning power plant producing 50 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.
Studio executives claim updated production methodologies, new CG pipeline tools and increased infrastructure efficiency will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1 million tons per year, while increasing animation production capacity by almost 10% over an inefficient traditional studio that uses electricity made available by plugging computer equipment into open power outlets. The plant uses low-ash, low-sulfur coal, filters and enclosed transport systems to minimize pollution and maximize artistic creativity, teamwork and profit.
Studio general manager Wei Qiang said the facility, which has been under construction since 2009, cost more than 6.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) and when fully operational, will employ more than 1,000 animators and generate at least 80 million yuan ($13 million) in annual revenue from a mix of animated features and television programming content. Wei commented that by employing a more “Western” style of storytelling and creative development, the studio plans an aggressive slate of “compelling and entertaining Monkey King and Dragon-related sequels, prequels and re-imaginations.”
Wei went on to say, “The opening of Splendorful Gray Valley Productions doesn’t just celebrate important investment in China’s entertainment production future, but also reflects proudly on innovation that brings cultural creativity and bituminous coal together for greater artistic and economic prosperity.”