November 28th, 2012 - The fate of the animated film "The Legend of Tembo" will be determined today with one local group hoping to work on the movie in Port St. Lucie's animation studio.
The movie hits the auction block in New York City Wednesday, along with a number of other Digital Domain Media Group assets. Any sales are set to be finalized at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Brendan L. Shannon in Wilmington, Del., where the bankruptcy proceedings are being held.
Chuck Williams, the co-producer and co-director of "Tembo" with partner Aaron Blaise, said the two submitted a bid with some business partners. Potential bids were due Monday.
Williams has said he'd like to see the movie rights sold quickly in hopes it will continue to be made at Tradition Studios. Many of the people working on the movie when Digital Domain laid off 346 employees and filed for bankruptcy in September have since left Port St. Lucie.
"We're waiting to hear back," Williams said. "We're looking forward to the auction tomorrow and hoping all goes well."
Williams said, if successful, he hopes to bring those workers back to Port St. Lucie and/or hire new workers for the project.
The movie will be sold with a group of other assets separated in five blocks. "Tembo" has been grouped with other in-progress films, "The Art Project," "Birds of a Feather" and "The Lightning Catcher." The sale of one of the other blocks — patents for a process converting 2-D images into 3-D — has been postponed.
St. Lucie County Tax Collector Bob Davis and Port St. Lucie filed new objections Tuesday to today's auction. Davis claims Digital Domain owes more than $815,000 in 2012 property taxes and wants to make sure the county gets its money from the sale. Port St. Lucie, which issued $40 million in bonds to build Tradition Studios and owns the 15.5 acres on which it sits, wants to make sure its property at the studio isn't sold in the auction.
The City Council will tour Tradition Studios Dec. 19 to become more familiar with the facility. Council members need to know what's there, city spokesman Ed Cunningham said, because the city must market the building to future tenants once Digital Domain's lease expires in January.John Textor, the former CEO and board chairman, filed a motion Nov. 21 claiming the concept of "The Art Project" was developed by his son and wife, so the rights to the film shouldn't be sold at the auction.
Digital Domain sold assets at sites outside Florida at a Sept. 21 auction for $30.2 million to a consortium of Beijing-based Galloping Horse Film Co. and Reliance MediaWorks Limited, based in Mumbai, India.
Staff writer Christin Erazo contributed to this report.