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Creative Group Teams up with N.Y. Yankees For Henry & Me DVD

Post-production house oversees celebrity-packed animated film for charity. 

New York, NY – Creative Group, the industry’s premier full-service post-production facility, has teamed up with the New York Yankees to produce Henry & Me, an animated film inspired by the literary works of Ray Negron, special advisor to George M. Steinbrenner III.  Protective of such a poignant story and its legendary brand, the Yankees organization turned to Creative Group’s talented team of editors, colorists and mixers to craft and execute nearly the entire 50-minute, direct-to-DVD project.

From the beginning, it was clear to the team at Creative Group that careful development of this compelling story was important to the storied franchise. The quality of the finished product needed to reflect not only the Yankees organization’s proud history of philanthropic outreach but also that of the Yankees brand itself.  After all, many Yankees legends and current players are depicted in the film, as are several celebrities, who were eager to lend their talents to such a goodwill-oriented project.

“The New York Yankees represent something that transcends mere sport,” says Joseph Avallone, president and CEO, Creative Group, “It was our job to capture that and put it into images. By working with the Yankees not simply as a post-house, but as an extremely selective Intellectual Property house, we were able to execute this project in a manner that maintains the integrity and popularity of the brand.”

With so many Yankees players and celebrities lending their voices and likenesses to the film, the need for special attention to the dialogue, animation and audio was evident, prompting Creative Group to oversee every aspect of the project.

In addition to contracting Hollywood writer David I. Stern to write the screenplay, several members of Creative Group contributed to the writing of the dialogue, including Avallone, Joseph Castellano, executive vice president/partner, and the film’s director, Barrett Esposito.  

As for the animation, character development was performed by Chuck Gammage Animation.  Storyboards, which were edited by Castellano to create the film’s animatic, were produced by Tricycle Films, while the final 2D animation was produced by Toon City, located in the Philippines.

The majority of Yankees players and celebrities recorded their dialogue at Creative Group’s Broadway facility in New York. However, under the direction of Esposito, Castellano, and Avallone, a few were recorded at Ron Rose Productions in Tampa, FL or Kessler Media Productions in Katonah, NY.

Several current and former Yankees players make appearances in the animated film including current manager Joe Girardi, Alex Rodriquez, CC Sabathia, Mark Teixiera, Reggie Jackson and Yogi Berra, as well as various celebrities including Richard Gere, Chazz Palmentieri, Paul Simon, and Cyndi Lauper.  Yankees broadcasters John Sterling and Michael Kay are also depicted in the film.

“We were honored to oversee this project for such a legendary organization as the New York Yankees,” says Avallone. “Having complete creative control of all phases of the project, Creative Group was able to deliver a seamless rendering of a timeless human journey that was true to the spirit and traditions of the Yankees.”

In addition to the film itself, Creative Group is producing an interstitial (approximately three to five minutes) about each performer’s charity of choice including Girardi’s Catch 25 Foundation and Lauper’s True Colors Fund.

Henry & Me is scheduled for a summer 2010 release. Profits from the film will be donated to charities supported by the performers including The New York Yankees Foundation and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Henry & Me Productions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Creative Group Acquisition Co., is producing Henry & Me.

About Creative Group
Creative Group is a leading, full-service post production facility specializing in nonlinear, linear and HD editing compositing, visual effects, color correction, digital intermediates, DVD duplication and sound design/5.1 audio post mixing for the broadcast, film and DVD markets.  The New York City-based Creative Group first opened its doors in 1993 with an imaginative and award-winning team of artists. The company has since expanded its industry presence to include Mantra, its Manhattan-based design and visual effects boutique, as well as its Bristol, CT location.  The company has grown internationally, as well, to include a facility overseas in Shanghai.  Working with such high profile clients as The Walt Disney Company, General Electric, Viacom, Time Warner, Paramount, NBC Universal and Momentum, Creative Group prides itself in its mission to offer an all-inclusive hub for value-added creative services.  This affords clients the ability to differentiate themselves in today’s cluttered multimedia environment.