NZ animation studio signs Chinese co-production deal

Auckland-based animation company Huhu Studios has signed up to a co-production with China Film Animation to develop the first animated 3D movie between the two nations, Beast of Burden.

The companies announced the deal on Sunday at the Beijing Film Festival, with media firm Qi Tai Culture Development Group bankrolling the movie, they said in a statement.

Production is expected to begin this month, with a global release slated for next year.

“We are delighted about the process of joining the best of the China animation industry with the best of the New Zealand animation industry,” Huhu chief executive Trevor Yaxley said.


“With the help of our friends from Qi Tai, this is the beginning of a close relationship for many years to come.”

Film New Zealand has put a priority on helping producers forge links with China and take advantage of the co-production agreements that allow Chinese filmmakers to access New Zealand incentives and kiwi producers to get around foreign quotas.

The government agency has its first official presence at the Beijing festival this year, screening five movies, and hosting a booth at the event.

China Film Animation, a subsidiary of China’s largest state-run film enterprise China Film Group Corp, has been looking to partner with Huhu for some time, which will be the New Zealand firm’s first feature movie to be co-produced with a China based partner.

Huhu has worked with Chinese firms for the past six years, and has studios in Taipei and Beijing, along with its main centre in Auckland.

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