CCI, Blink play in toon town

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Canadian cartoon producer CCI Entertainment and Dubai-based Blink Studios have formed a strategic alliance to develop, produce and distribute a range of animation properties.

Toronto-based CCI said Wednesday that it will partner first with the Dubai studio to produce the CGI series "Tooterville," which takes kids into an imaginary village where colorful creatures communicate by making horn sounds.

The preschool series will be shopped at MIP Jr.

"Both companies are bringing a lot of strength and talent to the table, and we believe this will be the first of many development, production and distribution deals," CCI CEO Arnie Zipursky said.

Joint projects by CCI and Blink Studios will not be official co-productions as Canada and Dubai have no official co-production treaty for animation.

But Blink Studios head of business development Tarek Mounir said the joint venture is aimed in part at paving the way for a future treaty between Canada and Dubai.

The CCI-Blink Studios partnership was initiated by U.S. animation veterans Terry Kalagian and Christopher Keenan, who consult for the Dubai studio and will executive produce "Tooterville."

CCI said last month that it was opening a Los Angeles office as it expands internationally (HR 9/19). The Canadian company is casting its net for properties with strong licensing potential in the U.S., European and Asian markets.

CCI grew out of the 2002 merger of Zipursky's Cambium Entertainment and Catalyst Entertainment, which was led by former Gullane Entertainment executive Charles Falzon, now CCI co-chairman.

CCI is best known for such properties as "Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs," "Erky Perky" and "Shining Time Station."
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