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Portland Claymation animator Will Vinton.Gnosis Moving Pictures and Vinton Entertainment Inc. said Wednesday the two companies have signed a co-production deal on a slate of CG animated feature films, to be directed by Oscar winner Will Vinton.

“Our partnership with animation icon Will Vinton is poised to produce engaging and thought-provoking animated content for children and families from one of the best in the business,” says Darius Kamali, chief executive officer of Gnosis Moving Pictures. “We are looking forward to Will’s vision giving these animated stories life.”

The slate includes:

• “The Quest,” a Monty Python-esque comedy set in outer space. The project, which has previously been announced, is written by Vinton, Andrew Wiese, and Peter Crabbe and features the voice of John Cleese.

Dark Horse's 'Jack Hightower' is one of the films to be produced by the Gnosis/Vinton deal.• “Jack Hightower,” based on a Dark Horse graphic novel, is a comedic action adventure about a macho secret agent who’s shrunk to the size of a hotdog.

• “Moby & Dick,” inspired by the famous Herman Melville novel, is a heartfelt tale about the bond between fathers and sons.

• “Nicholas,” a mix of 3D stop-animation and CGI, is an epic action-adventure story based on L. Frank Baum’s famous novel, “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus.”

An animated version of Melville's 'Moby Dick' is among the films to be produced by the Gnosis/Vinton deal.“I’ve dedicated my life’s work to bringing to life entertaining and culturally relevant characters, personalities and content through the power of animated story telling,” Vinton says. “After pursuing a passion project in theater, I’m eager to venture back into animation through this incredible new feature film slate in partnership with Gnosis. Together, we’ve got big things in the works.”

Founded in 2013 by Darius Kamali, Gnosis Moving Pictures is a privately financed media and technology company active in animated and live-action feature film production, mobile and social media game development, and the financing of virtual reality technology applications.

Kamali will produce the slate with Kasey Adler, who oversees the company’s strategic partnerships and investments in media and technology-related companies and assets.

A pioneer in the animation business, Will Vinton created, coined, and trademarked the word Claymation, and has created characters like The California Raisins, the computer generated M&Ms “Red” and “Yellow,” Domino’s Pizza’s “the Noid” and Thurgood Stubbs of “The PJs.”

Vinton has an Oscar, five Academy Award nominations, and eight primetime Emmy nominations.

Vinton and business partner John Ripper started Vinton Entertainment in Portland as a boutique animated movie and licensing studio.

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