Ben Ammar invests in animation

Producer takes stake in Rainbow

Tarak Ben Ammar has taken a shine to Italo toons.

The Franco-Tunisian film producer and dealmaker has acquired a small but significant stake in Rainbow, maker of “Winx Club,” the smash Italo kiddie series sold in 90 countries, ahead of the expanding animation studio’s planned flotation on the Milan bourse.

Ben Ammar — topper of Paris-based Quinta Communications and board member of the Weinstein Co. — has initially taken just a 2% interest in Rainbow. But the move is considered integral to broader ambitions within Italy’s entertainment sector by the close associate of Silvio Berlusconi and adviser to Rupert Murdoch, who is also a board member of leading Italian merchant bank Mediobanca.

Ben Ammar now becomes a board member of Rainbow, which later this month will have its first feature, “Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom,” boasting a Natalie Imbruglia theme song, out wide on 500 Italian screens via 01 Distribuzione.

Rainbow, founded in 1995 by Italo artist and CGI helmer Iginio Straffi, besides having a worldwide hit franchise with “Winx Club” and a resulting windfall in merchandising coin, has also spawned the “Tommy & Oscar,” “Monster Allergy” and “Prezzy” series.

“I have discovered in Iginio Straffi the same type of creative and entrepreneurial capabilities that are behind the success of Pixar and Disney,” Ben Ammar said in a statement. “There is no equivalent animation talent in Europe.”

Ben Ammar, who holds a 24% stake in TV production company Lux Vide, maker of megaskein “War and Peace,” last month confirmed he is in negotiations to gain control of Italy’s Eagle Pictures, a distrib of mainly Hollywood genre pics and also of Italian titles, which it co-produces.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading