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Toei, Columbia team on shorts

Duo to co-produce series for digital distribution

Toei and Columbia Music Entertainment will co-produce a series of short pics for digital distribution, beginning with the period actioner “Metal Samurai.”

The two companies will cooperate in not only producing the pics at Toei’s Kyoto Studio but distribbing them on TV, DVD and the Internet. CD music sales will also be part of the mix.

The helmer and scripter of “Metal Samurai” is first-timer Kyosuke Kanesaki, who has come up through the assistant director ranks at Kyoto Studio. Jay Coffman, Yoko Mitsuya and Kappa Kunikida star.

The partners plan to make “Metal Samurai” the first of a series of co-produced short pics, distribbed in the same digital multiplatform manner and also using young scripters and helmers. The initial production target is eight to 10 pics annually. Users will be able to digitally search the pics and even edit their own versions.

“CD music sales are down, but DVD sales are up,” said Columbia CEO Sadahiko Hirose at the Kyoto press conference Thursday announcing the project. “We hope to develop synergies with music and DVD while adding extra value to CD releases. We are making the films with Internet release in mind. Also, in the near future, we hope audiences will be able to view them on their cell phones.”

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