Andy, Amy Heyward to manage L.A. outfit
Andy Heyward’s A Squared Entertainment and Tata Elxsi have formed an ambitious joint venture dubbed A Squared Elxsi Entertainment LLC.Partnership, announced Thursday, is aimed at creating, developing and distributing original branded animated entertainment, digital gaming and consumer products. As many as four titles will be announced annually, with a particular focus on the children’s sector. First title will be unveiled within two months. “Combining A2’s creative development, brand management and multimedia distribution expertise with Tata’s exceptional animation capabilities and technological innovation gives us a tremendous advantage in today’s competitive kids’ marketplace,” said A Squared co-president Andy Heyward. “Not to mention the powerful stable of brands that are already in production with personalities ranging from Warren Buffett to Martha Stewart, Gisele Bundchen and Stan Lee.” Heyward is the former topper of animation house DIC Entertainment. “This new partnership will enable us to expand our commitment to producing and distributing quality entertainment for kids in all formats throughout the world,” said A2 co-president Amy Heyward. Tata Elxsi — part of the giant Tata Group conglom — operates an animation, visual effects and game development studio based in India and a studio in Santa Monica. Recent productions include films “Roadside Romeo” (co-produced by Disney and Yash Raj Films) and TV commercials for Coke, Reebok and Wrigley. The Heywards told Variety that they’re particularly encourage by the expansion of the Indian market and the high educational level of the work force — with 75% of the artists at the Tata studio having engineering degrees. The new venture’s daily operations will be managed by the Heywards from the Los Angeles office. The partnership was orchestrated by sports commentator Vijay Amritraj, the former pro tennis player who introduced the parties and will remain on in an advisory role. “The partnership has a huge potential because of the ability of its leaders to adjust to the changes in the world,” Amritraj said. Also serving an advisory role is Elizabeth Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.