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Lions Gate & RichCrest Animation Commit to Three-Picture Pact

Lions Gate Entertainment, in Toronto, and Crest Animation Studio's U.S.-based subsidiary, RichCrest Animation (RCA), have struck a co-production and co-financing deal to produce three animated feature films.

The first film under the new agreement will be the previously announced SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE. A second, currently untitled feature project is in development, and the third project is yet to be identified. Lions Gate will distribute the three films worldwide, except in India where Crest is headquartered.

"There is tremendous growth potential for quality, CGI feature films in the family entertainment space, said Lions Gate Family Ent. evp Ken Katsumoto. This agreement with a world-class partner is typical of the efficient financing for which we're known and allows us to develop, produce and distribute feature films of superior animation production quality within Lions Gate's financial model," he said.

The deal fits with Lions Gate's strategy of targeting specific moviegoing audiences such as family entertainment, urban family and horror. This gives Lions Gate Family evp Anne Parducci a total of four major theatrical projects in the family entertainment pipeline, under the creative leadership of Katsumoto. This includes FOODFIGHT!, produced under a separate deal with Threshold Ent., is slated for fall 2006 release.

Seemha Ramanna, md of Crest Animations Studios said, "This is a significant milestone for Crest and a pioneering feat for the Indian animation industry. This partnership with Lions Gate reflects confidence in Crest's ability to produce full-length feature films of world-class quality as well as our recognition of Lions Gate as a content leader in the family space and a superior distributor of quality theatrical releases. With this agreement, Crest will emerge as one of the few production houses in the world that can produce CGI feature films."

Wayne Levin, evp of corporate operations and general counsel for Lions Gate negotiated the deal.

Lions Gate Entertainment ( is a leading independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, home entertainment, family entertainment, television programming and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library is one of the largest in the entertainment industry.

Crest acquired Richard Richs Rich Ent. in Burbank, California, which was renamed RichCrest Animation and is a subsidiary of Crest Animation Studios. In addition to ARTHUR'S MISSING PAL, RichCrest recently completed production on five direct-to-video productions for Nest Ent. and is in CGI production on American Greetings' THE GET ALONG GANG. RichCrest is committed to theatrical releases and is in development on two other CGI features.

Crest Animation Studios Ltd. has identified creative skills and technological savvy as its core strengths from its inception as Crest Communications Ltd. A focused and dedicated player in the computer animation space, Crest has built creative, technological and production benchmarks to deliver world-class quality to the mainstream U.S. market.