CCI opening L.A. office for int'l growth

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TORONTO -- Canadian family programming producer CCI Entertainment on Tuesday unveiled plans to open a Los Angeles office to spearhead an international expansion in brand licensing.

"It's now our corporate agenda to acquire more licensing properties," whether in the U.S., Europe or Asia, CCI co-chairman and CEO Arnie Zipursky said.

He added that the stateside expansion follows a successful merchandising and licensing program for "Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs," which airs on the Cartoon Network.

CCI also has acquired the worldwide licensing and distribution rights to the U.K.-based property "Frankenstein's Cat" and recently partnered with Scholastic Prods. on the "Racer Dogs" kids property.

The Toronto-based producer also recently hired Jennifer Bennett, former vp of merchandising and licensing at Alliance Atlantis Communications, to join its brand licensing team.

Monica Veiga will relocate to Los Angeles as director of sales for Latin America and Asia. In addition to lining up new licensing business, Veiga will acquire film properties for CCI's distribution library.

Rival Canadian kids programming producers including Cookie Jar Entertainment, Nelvana and Mainframe Entertainment already have a Los Angeles base from which to partner on international projects.

Zipursky said his company is holding discussions with potential partners in the U.S., Europe and China.

CCI recently wrapped production on "Iron Road," a Canada-China co-produced movie directed by David Wu and starring Peter O'Toole, Sam Neill and Luke MacFarlane.

The company grew out of the 2002 merger of Zipursky's Cambium Entertainment and Catalyst Entertainment, which was headed up by Charles Falzon, who is now CCI co-chairman.

Other CCI properties include "Erky Perky" and "Shining Time Station."

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