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Japanese Games Firm Akatsuki Launches U.S. Film Production Venture

Japanese games company Akatsuki has appointed Annmarie Sairrino Bailey to head a new U.S.-based film and TV venture.

Akatsuki Entertainment USA will acquire, develop and produce commercial intellectual properties. Initially the company will seek strategic partnerships between Hollywood and Japanese firms. In the longer term, it aims to cover multiple in-house disciplines, including international sales.

Sairrino Bailey is named president of the new company, working alongside Tokyo-based Moeko Suzuki. Sandy Climan president of Entertainment Media Ventures, serves as advisor to both the new company and the Japanese parent.

Akatsuki is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and sees its core business in games for mobile phone and tablets. It was last year involved in developing and distributing Bandai Namco Entertainment’s “Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle” game. It also has a smaller activity in social games, and has branched out into live events.

“Akatsuki is already a successful company, and is now looking at diversification into film, TV and into the U.S.,” Sairrino Bailey told Variety. “Moeko and I have the ambition to help Akatsuki become a global entertainment company. We will do that though adaptations and through original content.”

No projects have been announced as greenlighted, but Sairrino Bailey says that at least three digital properties are currently in development internally. The company aims to unveil its first greenlighted project in the first quarter of 2018.

“The launch of Akatsuki Entertainment USA is perfectly in line with our company philosophy to always be looking for new and exciting opportunities and to never give up on following your dreams,” said Tetsuro Kouda, Akatsuki COO, who will oversee Akatsuki Entertainment USA on behalf of the parent company. “Our goal is to produce original and distinctive films of the highest quality to excite and move audiences not only in the U.S. or Japan, but the whole world.”

Sairrino Bailey was previously senior VP at All Nippon Entertainment Works, another company that straddled Japan and Hollywood with the aim of propelling Japanese content to developing Japanese content for global consumption. Its development credits include Imagine Entertainment’s “Tiger & Bunny” and “Manhunt,” a TV series expansion of Takashi Miike’s feature film “Shield of Straw,” produced with Depth of Field and EuropaCorp.

Other staff appointed to the Los Angeles office include Kat McPhee, who oversees strategy and creative affairs, and Nicholas Zabaly, as research manager.


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