FST is a newly created joint venture between First Serve International whose chairman is tennis legend turned entertainment entrepreneur, businessman and UN Messenger of Peace, Vijay Amritraj, and the award winning Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd, headed by CEO P. Jayakumar.
Under terms of the agreement, FST, which operates its animation studios in India, will begin pre-production immediately on 26 episodes in a 2D-3D combination of characters and background. The initial episodes are expected to be ready for worldwide distribution by summer 2007. First Serve Toonz will produce the Series while both Marvel Studios and FST will oversee the creative direction. International TV and DVD distribution will be managed by FST whereas Marvel retains distribution rights for the United States The agreement was negotiated by Bruno Maglione, president of Marvel International, Marvel's London-based subsidiary focused on international opportunities, and builds on a similar agreement with France's Antefilms Productions for a Fantastic Four animated series. Avi Arad stated: "X-Men is one of Marvel's crown jewels, and it makes sense to focus on the popular Wolverine character for our second animation project. First Serve Toonz, one of the leading animation houses in the Indian animation market, was a natural choice for our first animation partnership in this creative and talent rich market. Maglione added: "This is another step in Marvel's strategy to team with leading animation production houses around the world in order to add a powerful TV animation plank to the coordinated multi-media promotion platform for our character franchises."
Amritraj said he was eager to get Marvel to consider India as a strategic animation production base for its classic Marvel Super Heros. "I am delighted to be working with Avi, Bruno and everyone at Marvel and look forward to a great association."
"It is a great pleasure to be working with Marvel and its outstanding creative and management team. Clearly, the opportunity to make a show based on such already world-famous characters as Wolverine and the X-Men is a unique privilege and an exciting prospect both artistically and business-wise" said Ed Borgerding, CEO of First Serve Toonz.
"We are excited about our production deal with Marvel - a cutting edge global leader in children's entertainment. Kids everywhere love the rough-edged and rebellious Wolverine character, and the X-Men franchise brings a range of themes and characters that appeal to a global audience. This will be a groundbreaking deal for the Indian entertainment industry," said P. Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Animation Pvt. Ltd.
About First Serve International
First Serve International, LLC is a California based company with offices in Los Angeles, London and India, which produces and distributes motion pictures and television programming. First Serve also offers consulting and marketing services to media companies, markets media related products and engages in related businesses such as consumer products licensing. Besides its well-known Chairman, Vijay Amritraj, First Serve's management includes its CEO, Edward Borgerding, a former senior executive of The Walt Disney Company, and Senior Vice President, Munish (Max) Gupta, a well-known Asian-American journalist turned entertainment entrepreneur.
About Toonz Animation India
Founded in 1999, Toonz Animation India Pvt. Ltd. is a world-class animation studio delivering content for Film, Television, DVD, Internet and other interactive platforms. Based in Technopark in Trivandrum, Kerala, Toonz is Asia's premier multimedia studio and also the most advanced studio to open in India since the country emerged as a potential player in the international animation industry. The studio is working on a slew of projects with top-notch production houses and entertainment companies across the globe, including industry giants in USA, the UK and Japan. Toonz also maintains an extensive library of original content and is currently working on its home productions, 'The Adventures of Hanuman', 'Paddy's Pages', and 'Frogskool', in addition to the slate of projects for overseas clients.