Partners set up toon research center with Grand Ent.

BEIJING — Pukeko Pictures, the TV affiliate of New Zealand’s Weta Workshop, has signed a deal with the Beijing Film Academy and Grand Entertainment to set up a research center.

The Intl. Animation Technology Joint Research Center will promote film and TV exchanges between China and New Zealand, develop animation technology and also provid a platform for collaboration between Chinese and overseas shingles, Pukeko said in a statement.

The first project will be a co-production on animation series “The WotWots,” created by Pukeko at Weta, including “WotWots” TV episodes that will be unique to the Chinese market.

The skein has multi-platform broadcast in China and is growing a significant fan base.

Pukeko is affiliated with Weta through founding partners Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger, known for their work on the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “King Kong,” “Avatar,” “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Hobbit,” as well as on skeins “Hercules” and “Xena.”

“For China’s film and television industry to grow, innovation is needed, through more collaboration with top-notch international companies in the field,” said Prof. Sun Lijun, dean of the Beijing Film Academy Animation School and vice-principal of the acad, himself a noted toon helmer.

The partnership will also create the annual Richard Taylor Award of the Animation School, which will fund winners and outstanding students to further their studies in animation.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more