SYDNEY — After five years of negotiations, Aussie animation and production group Energee Entertain-ment has beaten such U.S. contenders as Disney and Jim Henson Prods. to acquire movie and merchandising rights to classic Oz kids book “The Magic Pudding.”

Authored by the late Norman Lindsay, the book, about a pudding that can be eaten forever, has been in print con-tinuously since 1918. Local kids writer Morris Gleitzman has inked to write an adaptation for an animated feature.

Energee will seek an international distribber at April’s Mip TV market.

Meanwhile, recently launched production group Screentime also has beaten overseas contenders to secure screen rights to Bryce Courtenay’s fictional account of Euro settlement of Australia, “The Potato Factory.” The book has hit bestseller lists in Australia, the U.K., New Zealand and South Africa.

Screentime will begin shooting a miniseries early next year.

Both Courtenay and Lindsay’s granddaughter, Helen Glad, said they deliberately chose local companies to bring their works to the bigscreen.

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