DQ, Method work on Chaplin shorts

Animated series budgeted at $11.4 million

MUMBAI — Indian animation house DQ Ent., French shingle Method Animation and French film giant MK2 have joined hands to produce a series of animated Chaplin shorts in stereoscopic 3D CGI, the companies announced Friday.

Method, in which DQE holds a 20% stake, will look after the creative aspects of the project and DQE will handle production. MK2 holds exploitation rights for the character under authority of the Chaplin estate.

The first season, which will consist of 104 six-minute episodes without dialogue and in color, will have Chaplin’s tramp character travel all over the world.

Method president Aton Soumache said, “There won’t be any direct movie adaptations. We will use gags from the films, pay homage and try and keep the spirit of Chaplin.”

A 45-second clip played at the press meet showed an animated Chaplin performing one of his trademark pratfalls against a New York City backdrop. The mobile phone he uses is shaped like an old fashioned telephone in keeping with the companies’ ambition to blend early 20th century with the present day.

The companies plan to exploit the series across television, mobile, homevid and Internet platforms. The €8 million ($11.4 million) production cost has been raised from pre-sales. The series is expected to be ready by spring 2011.

DQE CEO Tapaas Chakravarti also revealed that the company is planning a $46.2 million expansion of its existing operations in Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. Some $33 million of this will be raised via an upcoming initial public offering in India and the rest internally. The company, which is co-producing animated series of “Iron Man,” “The Jungle Book” and “The Little Prince,” amongst others, is also planning to expand its 3,500-strong workforce.

The company was listed on the AIM London in 2007 and raised $56 million.

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