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Pukeko Pictures forges closer ties with China

The creators of the animated series The WotWots have inked a deal with an animation school in China and have some co-productions in the pipeline specifically for the Chinese market.

Pukeko Pictures signs Chinese dealThe creators of the animated series The WotWots have inked a deal with an animation school in China and have some co-productions in the pipeline specifically for the Chinese market.

Wellington production company Pukeko Pictures has entered into an agreement with the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy and media distributor Grand Entertainment to form an international animation technology research centre to promote the development of projects and open up the expanding international, Chinese and film and television markets.

The first collaboration will consist of co-productions on The WotWots – created by Pukeko Pictures at the world-famous Weta Workshop – including TV episodes that will be unique to the Chinese home market.

The WotWots is currently broadcast in China via  free-to-air, satellite, IPTV, internet, and mobile TV.

“This joint venture will uniquely put us at the forefront of Chinese co-productions globally," said Pukeko Pictures chief executive Andrew Smith.

"This exciting collaboration will see film and television cultural exchanges between China and New Zealand – from technical ‘know-how’, the sharing of international resources and partners and will enable us to capitalise, co-produce and distribute international and Chinese film and television projects. It also extends to furthering the education and training of upcoming talent in the industry through joint academic activities and hosting annual regional industry conferences.”

Grand Entertainment, which first introduced The WotWots to China in 2011, will also create the annual Sir Richard Taylor Award of the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy, which will fund winners and outstanding students to further their studies in animation.

Taylor founded Pukeko Pictures in 2008 along with Tania Rodger and Martin Baynton.

The Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy is China’s oldest institute of higher education in animation, and dean Professor Sun Lijun said it was thrilled to work with Pukeko Pictures and Grand Entertainment in the exchange of culture and ideas.

“For China’s film and television industry to grow, innovation is needed, through more collaboration with top-notch international companies in the field."