Asian animation outfits drawing attention

A look at companies and their upcoming projects

Cubix Intl. (Singapore)
Producer of Singapore’s first 3-D animated feature “Zodiac: The Race Begins,” which bowed locally in January and sold to 22 territories. Pacted with the city-state’s Media Development Authority to co-produce five animated features over five years.
Coming up: “Legend of the Sea,” centered around a dragon from Chinese folklore, pegged for an early 2007 release.

Egg Story Creative Prod. (Singapore)
Digital animation and f/x studio launched in 2004 by Nickson Fong, a CG animator who worked in Hollywood before returning to Singapore. Also involved in merchandising, games, commercials, etc.
Coming up: “Kungfu Gecko,” a feature-length CG animation about a fighting lizard, due in 2008.

Lunchtime Prods. (Hong Kong)
Best known for its eclectic mix of 2-D and 3-D imagery on “My Life as McDull,” which won the Grand Prix at Annecy in 2003, and its sequel “McDull: Prince de la Bun.” Also works on commercials and TV dramas.
Coming up: “McDull: Wudang,” in which the famous pig tries to learn tai chi.

Mago21 (South Korea)
Acclaimed for its award-winning feature-length animation “Oseam” (2004), has secured co-financing from the Korean branch of Tooniverse to produce animated TV series and a major feature-length fantasy to be co-produced by Media Cartoon Co. of Shanghai.
Coming up: Untitled $5 million feature animation about a 15-year-old girl traveling through the afterlife.

Shochiku (Japan)
Japan’s largest entertainment conglomerate but a newcomer to animation, having launched a specialized division two years ago that has focused on TV product. New deals with Japan-based Production IG (“Ghost in the Shell”) and TV network Wowow will provide content for its new international sales activities.
Coming up: Gothic mystery TV series “Le Chevalier d’Eon” about an 18th-century French knight skedded for summer delivery, and action TV series “Tokko,” broadcasting locally from April.

Sieundesign (South Korea)
Up-and-coming animation/character/global-licensing company based in Seoul that has attracted Western partners for large-scale feature and TV projects.
Coming up: “Western Macaroni,” a series of 52 short episodes to which co-producer CNR Kids Entertainment of the Netherlands will contribute $7 million. Also, $10 million kids feature “Merry Christmas Tete,” which U.K.-based Copyright Promotions will market in U.S.

Studio Ghibli (Japan)
Asia’s most famous animation studio has earned worldwide attention for the works of Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”), Isao Takahata (“My Neighbors the Yamadas”) and others. Ghibli films enjoy unrivaled power at the Japanese box office.
Coming up: “Chaos From Earthsea,” the directorial debut of Miyazaki’s son Goro, to be released in Japan in July — a collaboration with South Korea’s DR Movie.

Sunwoo Entertainment (South Korea)
A major player in the outsourcing industry in the ’80s and ’90s (best known for its work on Fox’s “The Simpsons”), now focused on original content in animation, games, feature films, performing arts, merchandising, licensing, etc.
Coming up: “Yeu woo bi,” a $3.8 million, 2-D/3-D feature by South Korea’s most famous animator, Lee Sung-gang. Also “Mix Master,” a comic series targeted at 7- to 11-year-olds.

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