New York, New York (May 20, 2006) – The Weinstein Company has launched a new brand of direct-to-video CG animated feature length films being produced by The Jim Henson Company (JHC), Flame Ventures and Prana Studios with screenplays be overseen by Roger S.H. Schulman (Shrek,” “Mulan II”). The new “Unstable Fables” brand will include a series of titles that will irreverently tell well-known classic tales and incorporate modern twists on the stories. The first titles being produced are based on “Goldilocks,” “The Three Little Pigs” and “Billy Goats Gruff.” Production is scheduled to begin in September 2006. The Weinstein Company will distribute the films through their affiliate Genius Products, Inc. (OTCBB:GNPI). The announcement was made today by The Weinstein Company co-chairmen, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, The Jim Henson Company co-CEO, Lisa Henson, Flame Ventures CEO, Tony Krantz, and Prana’s CEO and co-creative director, Kristin Dornig.
The Jim Henson Company, Flame Ventures and Prana Studios will oversee the development and the computer generated animation will be produced by Prana’s facility in India. JHC’s Lisa Henson, Flame’s Tony Krantz and Prana Studios will produce. Production executive Eric Robinson will oversee the projects on behalf of The Weinstein Company. Glen Basner will be selling the international rights on behalf of TWC International.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein stated, “The Jim Henson Company, Tony Krantz and Prana Studios are all incredibly talented and make one impressive team for ‘Unstable Fables.’ These films will be time honored and give a new generation of fans the chance to discover these classic tales, especially supported by the enthusiasm of fans all over the world who grew up with the originals. Prana was part of the team we worked with on ‘Hoodwinked’ and they did an outstanding job and we are thrilled to be continuing our relationship with them.”
“As The Jim Henson Company continues to expand further into animation, we are thrilled to have such supportive enthusiasm from The Weinstein Company,” said Lisa Henson, co-CEO of The Jim Henson Company and a producer of the home video series. “Producing this series with gifted creative partners like Prana and Flame allows us to maintain the highest standards of quality expected from a Jim Henson Company production and make it available to a home video audience.”
Tony Krantz stated, “Working with Lisa Henson and The Jim Henson Company and one of the world’s premier overseas animation companies, Prana, is a thrill. Add Harvey to the mix and you have magic. The idea of creating an evergreen library of CG animated family titles is an extraordinary creative and business opportunity.”
Kristin Dornig stated, “Prana is built on a commitment to world-class, high-quality CG animation. To have The Weinstein Company validate our efforts with this deal is a great step for our artists and for Prana. We’re looking forward to working with creative and talented partners in The Jim Henson Company and Flame Ventures and are thrilled to be a part of ‘Unstable Fables’.
The Weinstein Company and Genius Products have been working together to build a library of titles for home video distribution since December 2005 when the two companies entered into a exclusive distribution agreement.
Michelle Krumm, executive vice president of acquisitions and co-productions, brought the projects and partnership to TWC. Barry Littman, executive vice president of business and legal affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of The Weinstein Company. Negotiating on behalf of The Jim Henson Company were its president, Peter Schube, and vice president of business and legal affairs, Dan Scharf. Graham Taylor of Endeavor, and Harold Brown and Bianca Levin of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown negotiated on behalf of Flame Ventures. Harold Brown of Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown negotiated on behalf of Prana Studios.
ABOUT TONY KRANTZ
Tony Krantz is the owner of the multi-faceted production company, Flame Ventures, LLC. In addition to television projects of all kinds, new media and transactional marketing, Flame has expanded into the direct-to-DVD market, creating 2 new brands of 3 initial films each: “Raw Feed” with John Shiban and Dan Myrick for Warner Home Video, and “Unstable Fables” for The Weinstein Company.
Before starting Flame, Tony Krantz served as the founding partner of Imagine Television along with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Imagine Television produced, “Sports Night”, “Felicity”, “The PJs”, featuring the voice of Eddie Murphy, “Wonderland”, “The Beast”, and “24”. Before Imagine, Krantz worked at CAA for 15 years, having started in the mailroom, representing writers, directors, actors, musicians and production companies. Krantz has personally packaged multiple Emmy winners, including “ER”, “Twin Peaks”, “Melrose Place”, “Beverly Hills, 90210”, and “The West Wing”. On the feature side, Krantz packaged the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or-winning, “Wild At Heart” and “The Doors”.
Krantz’s shows have won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, including Golden Globes in the categories of Best Actress for Keri Russell, Best Actor for Kiefer Sutherland, and most recently, Best Television Series – Drama for “24”. In its first season, “24” was voted the number one show on all of television in two consecutive Electronic Media polls of national television critics, and his work on “24” earned Krantz the Producers Guild of America, “Producer of the Year Award for Episodic Television – Drama”, in 2002. Krantz also produced David Lynch’s Oscar-nominated film “Mulholland Drive.”
ABOUT PRANA STUDIOS
Prana Studios LLC/Prana Studios Pvt. Ltd. is an artist driven, 3-D Animation and Visual Effects studio based in Los Angeles, USA with a production facility in Mumbai, India. Founded in April, 2003, by Arish Fyzee, Kristin Dornig and Pankaj Gunsagar, Prana has quickly distinguished themselves as the high-quality creator and supplier in CG animation in India. Among other projects, Prana produced 100% of the lighting and complete shot finaling, as well as 350 visual effects shots, on last year’s animated hit film, “Hoodwinked”. They are currently providing the complete production of a CG animated franchise movie for a major U.S. studio.
ABOUT GENIUS PRODUCTS, INC.
Genius Products, Inc. (OTCBB:GNPI), produces and distributes an ever-expanding library of home entertainment products including DVDs and CDs. Sold in retail outlets nationwide under such well-known brands as Wellspring, Sundance Channel Home Entertainment, NBC News, and Baby Genius®, the company’s products are distributed through the Genius Products Branded Distribution Network, an extensive, proprietary distribution network that extends throughout the U.S. to mass, drugstore, supermarket and specialty retailers. Genius Products recently released on home video The Weinstein Company smash hits, HOODWINKED, the animated family comedy which ranked #1 in consumer sales in its debut week, DERAILED, starring Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen, which ranked #1 in rentals in its debut week, and WOLF CREEK, an Australian horror film as well as the Oscar nominated film, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS, starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins.
Genius Products boasts a premiere management team comprised of seasoned executives, formerly with major Hollywood studios, who have steered the company into the forefront of the industry through their landmark exclusive distribution deal with The Weinstein Company.
Upcoming films planned for release by Genius Products include films by The Weinstein Company such as THE MATADOR, starring Pierce Brosnan; DOOGAL, a comical animated adventure with the voices of Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and William H. Macy; TRANSAMERICA, starring Felicity Huffman; David Zucker’s hilarious new sequel, SCARY MOVIE 4; and THE LIBERTINE, starring Johnny Depp. Potential new releases include a sequel to SIN CITY, SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, CLERKS II and the highly anticipated film BOBBY.
anticipated film BOBBY. out crowds in Aspen, Hollywood, Edinburgh, Sydney and Melbourne and premiered as a special on TBS. The Company has also announced the creation of Jim Henson Designs, a merchandise collection inspired by Jim Henson’s earliest sketches. The Jim Henson Company’s website is located at: www.henson.com.