Tel Aviv co. taps animation Studios for telenovelas

BUENOS AIRES — Dori Media Group has signed a three-year deal with Argentine toon-pic producer Illusion Studios to create telenovelas that use animated material and technology.

The partners will begin with “The Wizard of Oz” and “Violeta,” about a guy who must learn to live with his own caricatures, for TV, Internet and cell phones.

Tel Aviv-based DMG will present “Violeta” at the Mip TV mart in Cannes, which starts on Monday.

The deal comes as DMG expands production and sales.

It recently bought studios in Argentina and Israel in a drive to increase output to 800-1,000 hours a year.

This year, it sold U.S. remake rights for “Lalola,” a womanizer comedy co-produced with Argentina’s Underground Contenidos, to Sony Pictures Television. The novela has sold to more than 40 territories.

Illusion, behind blockbuster “Patoruzito” with Disney-backed Patagonik Film Group, has been expanding production since Argentine private equity fund The Exxel Group took an 80% stake in the firm last year.

It has signed on Nova Scotia-based Copernicus Studios and Spain’s Perro Verde Films for hoodlum satire “Boogie, the Aceitoso,” a 2-D and live-action tooner slated for a 2009 release.

It also is working with Canada’s Fandango Animation on “Valentina,” a tween feature due out in Argentina this July. Another project is toon feature “Gaturro” starring a cheeky male cat.

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