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Israel Gets Animated With New Toon & Game Studio

On Feb. 28, 2006, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) debuted Israels first-ever media center, along with a multimillion-dollar animation studio, in an effort to turn Jerusalem into a major player in the animation and gaming field, reports RED HERRING. The startup, Jerusalem Animation Lab, will include an animation and gaming studio, as well as a development lab to create animation for cellular phones.

Israelis have proven themselves as leaders in technology, and now is the chance to prove they can also be a major force in the content field, said Erel Margalit, managing partner of JVP, a leading Israeli venture fund.

JVP has brought in top-notch Hollywood names to run the new company. Heading up the operations will be Max Howard, a former DreamWorks SKG producer, and Douglas Wood, an industry exec who has developed television series and feature films for Steven Spielbergs Amblin Ent., Universal Studios, Warner Bros. and Turner Pictures.

In addition, dozens of Israelis working abroad, as well as local talent, have been recruited for the studio, which is expected to be one of the largest outside the U.S.

Our aim is to utilize the creative talent available here and combine it with Israels well-known expertise in technology, said Margalit. He noted that animation is entering new fields such as mobile devices, the Internet, and even street signs.

JVPs digital media initiative began in 2003. The Jerusalem-based fund is one of Israels largest and most successful. JVP contains a network of industry experts and advisors from the content, gaming, wireless and consumer electronics industries.

The companys JVP Studio was set up to create and fund early-stage media companies, having invested in 12 startups in the content field. One of those start-ups, Double Fusion, is a Jerusalem-based game developer, which integrates video and rich media advertising into videogames. Several foreign venture firms have also invested in some of JVPs media startups.

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