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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Our genie eyes stardom [18jan06]

The Mercury: Our genie eyes stardom [18jan06]

A PINK genie who lives in a mobile phone could soon become one of Tasmania's next top exports.

Pixel Pinkie is a new TV cartoon series being developed by Hobart-based Blue Rocket Productions and executive producer David Gurney is aiming at an overseas market.

"It has been designed from the beginning as an international series," he said.

"We have attracted a commitment from one of the largest cartoon distributors in the world, Daro Distributions, from Monaco, and we also have Canamedia Film Distribution, from Toronto, holding up their hands to be involved."

The series, aimed at the female 7-11 market, focuses on Pixel Pinkie, a genie who inhabits the mobile phone of a pre-teen girl.

The impetuous genie with a short attention span is called upon to help in various situations but usually ends up creating a bigger mess.

The series of 26 half-hour episodes will cost $9 million to produce and Mr Gurney was confident it would get the financial backing it needed.

He said Channel Nine had shown an interest in showing the series in Australia.

The State Government has offered to invest $500,000 in the series if Blue Rocket can raise the remaining funds.

The Government has invested more than $500,000 in the company since it set up in Hobart in 2002.

Economic Development Minister Lara Giddings defended the high level of support for Blue Rocket, saying the latest project alone would triple the amount of money coming into the state each year through local screen industries.

"Blue Rocket is a leader in this state and I can see that many other film companies as well as animators will grow off the back of Blue Rocket, which is why it is so important that the State Government is behind this company that already has a proven track record of success," she said.

Blue Rocket's most famous projects include Hoota and Snoz and The Dog and Cat News.

Mr Gurney said Pixel Pinkie was created by Blue Rocket co-founder Alicia Rackett.

"Animation is a massive industry worldwide and 25 per cent of the world's total audio visual content and barely a film or ad made these days is not touched by animation," he said.

"This will create a lot of jobs for the state and spin-off work for other companies as well."

Blue Rocket has produced 13 TV series and its TV programs are shown in more than 115 countries.


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