PolyGram Filmed Entertainment has bought a 25 percent share of Ottawa, Canada-based animation studio Funbag Animation in a move that gives PolyGram an exclusive first look at all Funbag projects over a five-year term.
The deal, according to representatives of both companies, injects some much-needed capital into Funbag’s coffers, allowing the studio to pursue development deals, while giving PolyGram access to a wider range of animation properties for its ever-growing international network of holdings.
Darryl Iwai, president of PFE Canada, says the arrangement ‘gives us the product flow that we’re going to need to continue to build our distribution network. We looked at a number of companies around the world and felt that this was the one that we wanted to work with.
‘It’s an investment in what we feel is a very talented group of individuals,’ says Iwai.
Funbag co-owner Curtis Crawford says the deal with PFE should allow the studio’s executive directors to concentrate their efforts on creative matters, rather than on distribution and finance, as they have been doing for the past year or so.
‘We have a partner now who can do the things we were finding difficult,’ he says, adding that the allegiance with PolyGram will enable Funbag to more quickly get a sense of how well its programs will perform on the international market.
Although Crawford says Funbag will maintain its focus on service work, he pledges that the company will be producing new animation projects in very short order. ‘It’s nice to be able to produce a project of your own every now and then,’ he says.
A project, entitled King Weirdo, is already in development with PolyGram. It’s a story about a 10-year-old boy ‘who discovers a land underneath his bed and, through mishap, is declared king of that land,’ says Crawford, who adds that the program combines elements of adventure with valuable object lessons for young people.
Funbag, established in 1992, has performed service work on such well-known animation projects as The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy, Beavis and Butt-head, The Mask and Captain Star.