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|September 11, 2001||
And the Force is with Anant Singh
Arthur J Pais in Toronto
Small-time distributor Anant Singh scored over his bigger rivals at the Toronto International Film Festival to pick up the worldwide rights for Thunder Force, a Taiwanese martial arts puppet series.
Nearly 1000 hours of Thunder Force related programmes have been telecast on cable television in Taiwan. The shows present the resolution of conflicts involving love, honour, loyalty and duty.
Singh is the most successful of South African film producers, video store owners and distributors, who has made and acquired films in Australia, Britain, America and in his own country.
Three years ago, he was to launch the screen biography of Nelson Mandela, to be directed by Shekhar Kapur. But that project was shelved.
Discussing his latest acquisition, he told Variety, a weekly trade publication, that Thunder Force is a cross between Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the space-oriented film, The Thunderbirds. He hopes it would appeal to teenagers across the world.
Singh has not disclosed the financial arrangements, but he says, "This is one of the most unique properties we have ever come across."
Singh's firm, Distant Horizon, formed nearly two decades ago, has produced Sarafina! and collaborated on the Australian hit, The Dish.
It will now produce films based on the puppet series. Each film is expected to cost about $25 million.
His firm has also distributed such films as Jet Lee's Black Mask and Jackie Chan's Twin Dragons in over a dozen countries.
Distant Horizon, which has made films for Walt Disney Studios, is looking for Hollywood partners for the new venture. Discussing the multi-platform exploitation of the Thunder Force series, Singh said that CD-Rom games, comic books and tie-ins are also being negotiated
The first Thunder Force film is expected to release in 2002.
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