World Briefs

JAPAN

Seeking to entrench itself as the leading distrib of U.S. films in Japan, Toho-Towa is beefing up its international department with two new hires.

Asia Ireton, formerly editor-in-chief of trade magazine Movie/TV Marketing, will oversee the company’s acquisitions of foreign films and co-prods. Goji Komatsu, recruited from trading company Nissho Iwai, will co-ordinate those activities in the Japanese market.

Both will report to Hiro Matsuoka, Toho-Towa director and head of international.

The distrib scored a huge success in Japan with “The Sixth Sense” and its upcoming slate includes “Shanghai Noon,” “The Sixth Day” and “The Hurricane.”

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Disney Channel Asia will start distributing a Japanese cartoon, “Bubu Chacha,” to cable and satellite broadcasters in five Asian countries on July 15.

The cartoon, pronounced “boo boo cha cha,” is about a little boy and his toy car, the incarnation of his pet dog Chacha who was killed in a traffic accident.

Produced by Japan Digital Entertainment, the cartoon was originally shown on pubcaster NHK’s second satellite channel last year and is currently rerunning on the same channel.

The cartoon will be shown in Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan, dubbed in English. “Bubu Chacha” is the first work of Iku Mohamed, a 34-year-old Pakistani-Japanese who set up production company JDE in 1997.

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