Government of Ontario backs Starz Animation Toronto with over $22.9 million in funding to support next generation jobs



    Sir Elton John (Gnomeo & Juliet) will be on hand for the
    announcement

    TORONTO, May 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Starz Animation Toronto today announced
that it has received $22.975 million in funding under the Government of
Ontario's Next Generation of Jobs Fund. Premier Dalton McGuinty attended the
press conference where he indicated the funds have been allocated to Canada's
leading feature length animation film studio to stimulate economic growth and
to contribute to a competitive workplace for the next generation of Ontario
workers.
    With major projects like Miramax Films' Gnomeo & Juliet and the recent
completion of Universal/Focus Features' 9, Starz Animation Toronto, under the
direction of Head of Studio David Steinberg, now employs 220 people, up
substantially from when the studio opened in 2007, and continues to grow at a
rapid pace.
    "Today truly is a remarkable day," said Robert B. Clasen, Chairman and
CEO, Starz, LLC. "Starz Animation Toronto is on course to become a world
centre of excellence that produces exceptional quality animation work. We are
thrilled with the endorsement and funding we have received from the Government
of Ontario and their recognition that our state-of-the-art studio in Toronto
is an important economic generator for this province. We are especially
honored to have Sir Elton John and David Furnish with us here today."
    "Gnomeo & Juliet is a special project for us, so we're happy that it's
being animated under the auspices of David Steinberg and his team at Starz
Animation Toronto," Sir Elton John said. "Toronto is a dynamic city with a
great pool of talented animators, and the best of them are at work on Gnomeo &
Juliet right now."
    An irreverent comedy set in the back-drop of suburban English gardens and
inspired by Shakespeare's renowned love story, Miramax Films' and Elton John
and David Furnish's Rocket Pictures' Gnomeo & Juliet introduces us to two
young garden gnomes from feuding families of lawn ornaments, who are
blissfully unaware their story is destined for a tragic ending... unless they
can change their fate. The film, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2), features
classic and new music from the legendary singer/songwriting team of Elton John
and Bernie Taupin. James McAvoy (Atonement) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears
Prada) will voice Gnomeo and Juliet.
    "With breathtaking animated features like 9 and Gnomeo & Juliet, Starz
Animation Toronto is undeniably establishing itself as a leader in high
quality, independent digital animation," added David Steinberg. "I'm excited
that the Government of Ontario, Rocket Pictures and others recognize the value
of our studio too."
    The Next Generation of Jobs Fund is a five-year initiative launched by
the Government of Ontario to provide funding to help innovative companies grow
and create sustainable jobs for Ontario's highly skilled workers.
    Starz Animation Toronto, a unit of Starz Media, LLC, is the only
independent studio to produce five consecutive theatrical features, including
the 2007 release, Everyone's Hero (20th Century Fox/Starz Animation) and
Universal Pictures/Big Ideas' 2008 theatrical release, The Pirates Who Don't
Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie, as well as a run of best-selling
"VeggieTales" DVD releases for Big Idea.

    About Starz Media
    -----------------

    Starz Media, LLC, is a programming production and distribution company
operating worldwide. It includes the Film Roman, Anchor Bay Entertainment, and
Manga Entertainment brands. Its units create animated and live-action
programming - including theatrical films - and programming created under
contract for other media companies. It distributes that programming, and
programming acquired from outside producers, through home video retailers,
theaters, broadcasters, ad supported and premium television channels, and
Internet and wireless video distributors in the US and internationally. Starz
Media is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary
of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group.

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Jonathan Taylor, Starz Media, (818) 748-4032 -
w, (310) 592-3039 - m, Jonathan.Taylor@starz.com; Alison Reed, Temple Scott
Associates, (416) 360-6183 ext. 227, Cell: (416) 890-7049, areed@tsa.ca

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STARZ ANIMATION TORONTO

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