13 January 2004 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

MIAMI -- Animators familiar with Walt Disney Feature Animation-Florida in Orlando say the studio's impending closure, officially acknowledged Monday, is "a loss for the art of traditional animation" that won't soon be replaced. "There was such tremendous attention to detail at this studio," said Eddie Pittman, who worked on the Disney feature Mulan and now heads Legacy Animation in nearby Winter Garden, Fla. "Artistically everything they did there -- every line -- was just beautifully crafted." The studio, which concentrated on traditionally drawn animation, producing such films as Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear, currently employs more than 250 people. It is set to close shortly, though no specific date was given when Disney officially announced Monday that it is pulling the plug. Some of the animators' contracts reportedly run through March. Layoffs and salary cuts have been coming in waves, and in November production was suddenly halted on the animated feature A Few Good Ghosts.

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