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Japan’s Oldest Film Studio Grows Toon Arm

Japan's oldest film studio, Shochiku Co., is launching an animation division, reports VARIETY. The new arm plans to make five animated films and TV projects per year. Shochiku gm of filmed entertainment Ichiro Seki will head up the division. The unit will do commissioned works in both CG and 2D.

Shochiku will unveil its first animated productions in the next few months and hopes to release its first film in 2005. The company has had success previously distributing such animated fare as GENSOMADEN SAIYUKI -- THE MOVIE and the ULTRAMAN series.

"Establishing a division dedicated solely to providing animated product keeps Shochiku at the forefront of studio advancement," Seki said. "Strategically, the company is now in a position where it can capitalize more effectively on the growing market for animated films and television series."

Shochiku is a vertically integrated entertainment company encompassing feature film and TV production, theatrical distribution of Japanese and foreign films, worldwide sales, exhibition, DVD and home video distribution and the kabuki theater.

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