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Gene-Fusion Animated Feature Gets Underway in Ireland

Pre-production has begun on the animated action/adventure feature, GENE-FUSION, it was announced today, Sept. 15, 2005, by producers Banjax Studios, pop 6, and Beckett Entertainment Inc. announced today. The film for TV/DVD and theatrical release in selected territories will be delivered in late 2006 with a 26x30 series to following 2007.

GENE-FUSION, an 84-minute, futuristic feature, follows the adventures of four superhero teens and genetically modified monsters. The teens are recruited by the World Fusing Federation to participate in the Fusion Fights, the biggest ever global entertainment spectacle. While the kids come from wildly different backgrounds they soon find that they have more in common than they thought certain memories, recurring nightmares, and knowledge. The mysterious Gorath joins the team to coach them in the art and science of fusing DNA, to create and train the ferocious hybrid monsters for these cataclysmic battles . They share a terrible secret, which could lead to the destruction of humanity, and the rise of an invincible, immortal alien force.

I think the market was surprised such a high concept in the action genre came from the partnership of a Dallas publisher and a Belfast-based indie! says Banjax creative director Richard Morss. However, GENE-FUSION has attracted a tremendous amount of broadcast and commercial interest during its journey from comicbook to production, and were delighted it is now underway.

pop6 exec producer Roddy McManu tracked GENE-FUSION for some time before joining as a co-producer last year. The strategy of leading with a feature for TV, direct-to-DVD and even theatrical distribution in certain territories, supported by our key acquisition buyers, has enabled us to close financing and move forward, said McManu.

The production is benefiting from strong support from the Northern Ireland Film and TV Commissions Film Production Fun, which is investing more than $700,000 in the feature. This is the first time the commission has invested in an indigenously produced animated feature film.

A strong international broadcast platform is being lined up for the property including Cartoon Network, which has optioned exclusive broadcasting rights in the U.S.

The property will be shopped at MIPCOM Jr., MIPCOM and the Brand Licensing show in London this fall.

GENE-FUSIONs creator, award-winning cover artist and comicbook creator, Jeff Amano said, Im delighted GENE-FUSION will finally be brought to life and achieve the cross platform potential we all believe it has.

Beckett Ent., headquartered in Dallas (www.beckettcomics.com), is the intellectual property creation division of Beckett Interests Inc. (formerly Beckett Publications Inc.). Prior to the sale of its publishing division in January 2005, Beckett Publications was a world-leading publisher of authoritative magazines on sports and entertainment collectibles.

Banjax (www.banjax.com) was originally founded in 2002 by Darryl Collins, Alastair McIlwain and Morss in London. The company exists to develop, produce and commercialize digitally animated properties. The company is now based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where it enjoys the support of a substantial number of local funding bodies and private investors. Banjax is producing a 52x5 pre-school series, LUKE THE LIFEBOAT, in Belfast and is moving forward with a slate of other projects.

Based in Montreal, pop6 (www.pop6.net) is ideally situated to produce and finance media properties for the international market. The city offers a wealth of creative talent as well as digital production and technology expertise to produce film, television and interactive digital content. pop6 is currently producing the second season of INUK, an animated childrens series, as well as a live action series, LES PETITES TOUNES. pop6 also benefits from Canadian and Quebec co-production treaties and production tax credits.

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