Animation house Flying Bark Productions plans to produce a 3D feature film of its iconic Blinky Bill series.

The company, which was founded by Yoram and Sandra Gross in 1968, is adding to its staff of about 40 people in preparation for the film, with animation due to start in early-2012.

It will mark a return to the big screen for the animated koala, who last graced cinemas in Blinky Bill: The Movie in the early-90s.

“It took a while to get the financing together for Blinky but I’m really excited about it,” Flying Bark chief executive Jim Ballantine said.

The company is also considering a big screen version of Maya the Bee – a book and animated series popular in Europe – and is in talks with potential co-production partners.

In recent years, Flying Bark has concentrated on animated TV series and is due to deliver the first episode of The Woodlies – a series about furry, mischievious forest creatures – to Channel Seven next month.

Ballantine also said Flying Bark had recently finished work on a co-production, Santa’s Apprentice, which will be released in cinemas on November 18. Among the film’s voice cast are Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, Delta Goodrem and Georgie Parker.

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