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ATF: China’s Versatile Pitches ‘Axel’ Animated Movie

Versatile Media is one of a growing crop of Chinese companies attending major film and TV markets seeking international buyers for a new generation of high quality content.

The Hnagzhou-based live action and animation development and production company, is at ATF Singapore with its second animated feature film, “Axel: Adventures of the Spacekids.”

Written and directed by founder and CEO, Leo Lee, “Axel” was produced entirely in-house at Versatile’s Hangzhou studio. The film is a visual effects-heavy spectacle made for US$12 million, a budget two to three times higher than the average cost of most Chinese animated features.

Versatile believes “Axel” is China’s first 3D stereoscopic sci-fi animated film. It tells the story of a once lush planet exploited to near extinction for its energy-rich plants by the Earther tribe. Inspired by an ancient legend, three brave children set out on an adventure to rebuild the ravaged planet.

The film was released in China on October 1st going on to earn the highest box office of any domestic animated feature during the Golden Week national holiday, eventually grossing $7.61 million.

Lee founded Versatile in 1993, establishing it as an award-winning end-to-end advertising company, before expanding to television and film production in 2009. The company released the first “Axel” film in 2013, followed by two series of a spin-off television shows. Current plans are to release another animated feature, “Thingdom,” in 2018 and a third “Axel” installment in 2019.

Global Genesis Group acts as sales agent for overseas distribution, and has already sold the film’s English version to Italy, Russia, and two countries in the Middle East.

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