Toonz, Mediabiz partner for films, TV

Indian animation producer Toonz Entertainment has pacted with Canuck producer-financer Mediabiz Intl. to set up Toonz Entertainment Global to produce live-action and animation projects.

The company, which will be based in Montreal, is looking to produce $200 million in film and TV projects over the next two years.

There are two animation projects already under way: TV series “Speed Racer,” a Canadian-Indian-Irish co-production of 26 half-hours, and Humpty Dumpty tale “HTDT.”

Mediabiz CEO Karine Martin said Toonz Entertainment Global is also set to make nine TV movies based on a series of youth-focused books but was not ready to reveal details. The first should be in production before the end of the year.

It’s an unusual partnership — North American companies are more used to oursourcing animation work to India’s booming toon houses than having an Indian company set up shop locally.

But Martin said the deal makes a lot of sense. “It’s very difficult to finance and produce projects in one territory only,” said Martin. “A project needs to be global and appeal around the world. Toonz is very much present in Asia and has a strong presence in the U.S. because of its relationship with Marvel, Disney, Paramount and Hasbro.”

Mediabiz has put together financing for international film and TV projects for 10 years, adding production in the last two years. It’s in the midst of producing “The Moth Diaries,” a Montreal-shot film written and directed by Mary Harron and starring Lily Cole, Sarah Gadon, Sarah Bolger and Scott Speedman.

Some projects will take advantage of the cost savings of doing animation work in Asia.

“The decision to set our base in Canada stems from the growing cooperation between the North American production houses and Asian counterparts,” said Toonz Group CEO P. Jayakumar.

“The partnership with an established house like Mediabiz makes Toonz one step nearer to being an established global player.”

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