Chuck Williams and Aaron Blaise Kickstart Art Story Movie

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By Emily Roach

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/animators-from-digital-domain-hit-350000-kickstart/nZZQq/

The milestone was reached about 4 p.m. today, as former Disney animators Chuck Williams and Aaron Blaise surpassed their $350,000 Kickstarter goal to make their own movie.

Blaise, an artist who co-directed Disney’s 2003 “Brother Bear” which Williams produced, said donations picked up in the past couple of weeks as the deadline neared. The goal of $350,000 had to be reached by Friday, or they would lose all of the committed funds.

Art Story” illustrations on the story board at the FSU film school offices in CityPlace.

Art Story” illustrations on the story board at the FSU film school offices in CityPlace.

At the core of Art Story’s story is 11-year-old, no-nonsense Walt and his eccentric grandfather, who travel through a variety of famous paintings, fending off ruthless characters who want to escape into the real world.The concept of Art Story was refined at Digital Domain’s Tradition Studios in Port St. Lucie, where the two worked until the studio was shuttered in a surprise move last year. It was rescued from the lots being sold at bankruptcy by Digital Domain Media Group CEO John Textor because his son contributed to the concept. He is a minor partner in the film.

Williams and Blaise kept working on the concept until they decided to try something bold: crowdfunding.

The Kickstarter campaign began in mid-July. And the two set a pretty high goal.

They were looking for enough money to pay for the script, which Williams will write, some artwork and a video reel to shop the film to a studio. They will also do a full-color children’s book. Big studio animation features, which Blaise and Williams figure this can be, cost $60 million to $80 million.

The campaign has worked already. With nearly 1,600 people contributing to reach that goal, the two have proven the concept has interest.

“As we’ve gotten closer to the goal, the world has seen the market for this film,” Blaise said.

Now the two will “make sure we take care of all of our promises for the awards we can do now,” he said. Contributors get a variety of things as thanks: access to the production blog for $10, a chance to voice a minor character for $10,000.

And contributions keep rolling in.

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