BRON Media, leveraging its expertise in producing CGI-animated titles like Netflix’s The Willoughbys and acknowledging the pressure to explore new business models during COVID-19, has launched a digital division.
Jason Chen will lead production and technology as Head of Digital. He will oversee the virtual production and service unit as it develops and produces long-form animation for series television, short-form content and motion pictures. Chen began in visual effects, working on Avatar, and has gone on to support technical integrations. His credits include Jojo Rabbit, Real Steel, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, Bumblebee and Thor: Ragnarok.
BRON Digital is aiming to marry linear animation work with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine-centered virtual production, which the company says will yield high-quality content with much faster turnarounds.
The company is in its eighth week of production on the animated series Fables. Supported by production financing partner Creative Wealth Media, three more original premium animated series and digital films are scheduled to begin production over the summer.
The eight-episode Fables is directed by Azazel Jacobs (The Lovers). Sebastian Brodin (The Willoughbys) is director of photography, and Ra Vincent, an Oscar nominee for Jojo Rabbit, is production designer.
The COVID-19 production shutdown played a key role in the creation of BRON Digital. With live-action film and television productions on hold since March, the company’s upcoming theatrical releases, among them Candyman, The Green Knight, Fatherhood, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Respect pushed back. Revenue from animation and digital projects will make up the difference, along with production finance partner Creative Wealth Media.
“We needed to shift. The company directed much of its creative and production teams towards the creation and now launch of this new division,” BRON CEO Aaron L. Gilbert said. “Animation has been the only area of BRON capable of being in production during this pandemic as our production team is set up remotely. We feel fortunate to be working through the logistics of scaling this area of our company during these difficult times.”
Miles Perkins, Business Development, Unreal Engine Film & Television Team, Epic Games said demand for virtual production has continued to expand. “We’re excited to play a role in the amazing slate of new projects coming from this incredibly talented team,” he said.
Chen said new technology solutions “allow BRON’s productions to be untethered from traditional physical studio spaces. It allows for our geographically distributed creative teams to collaborate within a purely Virtual Multi-User experience.”
Since its founding in 2010, BRON has backed more than 90 productions, including Joker, Bombshell, Fences, Leave No Trace and The Way Back.