PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - A Delaware bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of much of Digital Domain's assets. A joint venture of two Asian companies placed the winning bid of $30.2 million dollars.
But will that sale save any of the 300 jobs lost here on the Treasure Coast, or the work that's been done to date?
Chuck Williams shows pictures of a busy and vibrant office. Colorful storyboards line the walls. The office space is inside Tradition Studios of Port St. Lucie, where Williams and his partner Aaron Blaise have spent the past two-plus years directing movie magic. Williams and Blaise were the first two hires that Digital Domain made for the development of the animated movie, "The Legend of Tembo."
"Our story is about a young African elephant who ends up in China and becomes a battle elephant in order to get home," said Williams.
Now Williams and Blaise are battling to get back to work, and at the same time raise capital to try and get ownership of the movie, that was not part of this week's bankruptcy sale. They're thrilled to hear of the new ownership group, Beijing Galloping Horse and Reliance Mediaworks, since both had been working with Digital Domain for the past year.
"Galloping Horse has seen Tembo, they're very excited about it, they've put a few million dollars in to it," said Williams.
Williams and Blaise had a staff of 120 animators, some of whom have moved on in the weeks since Digital Domain shut down earlier this month.
"That's why time is of the essence and that's why Chuck and I are working so hard to find a partner, try to find a way to get back into the building, get some money to back Tembo, get the rights of Tembo and get working again before we start losing people," said Blaise.
Blaise says there's anger and frustration and sadness with the Digital Domain shutdown, but they're trying to focus on moving forward and getting their film done.
"At the end of the day, if you make a great film, this will all be just water under the bridge," added Chuck Williams.