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Fortitude Ent. Group & Maya Ent. Merge

Fortitude Ent. Group and Mumbai-based animation company Maya Ent. have joined forces to form Fortitude Maya, reports VARIETY. The company will combine a host of computer animation talent for cost-efficient features and television projects.

Founded by Steve Delaportas and Lisa Marie Butkiewicz, Fortitude made headlines by inking a seven-figure rights deal for the G.P. Taylor fantasy novel SHADOWMANCER, which will be made at Universal. The company runs production, animation and visual effects facilities in Burbank, recording studios in Phoenix and merchandising offices in New York.

Maya Ent., which is underwritten by Intel, launched in 1996 by producer-director Ketan Mehta. The company owns 40 animation schools for animators.

The new deal will raise Fortitudes workforce to 300 in computer animation, pre-production and digital visual effects in the U.S. and India.

The first project for the new firm will be NOAH'S AARDVARK, an animated feature written by Michael Mauer. Fortitude will fund the $40 million budget. In addition, the company will work on TV pre-school projects as well as developing other features.

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