22.05.2019
Wizart Animation to partner with QED International on new franchise

The renowned Russian-based studio announces strategic collaboration with the American partner on Hansel and Gretel movie

Wizart Animation, the company behind the globally successful Snow Queen franchise, starts working with QED Int’l on new projects. The American-based film production studio, financier and international distributor (portfolio company of Media Content Capital) is best known for financing and producing District 9, Sabotage, Fury and Dirty Grandpa.

Animated feature Hansel and Gretel will be the first project to be co-produced by Wizart Animation and QED. Based on the well-known fairy tale of brothers Grimm, its first full-length animation version will tell the story in a comedy style. The siblings will face great adventures and meet different fairytale characters, involving the audience into the world of magic forest and its inhabitants. The locations are largely expanded. The audience will plunge into the world of the magic forest and meet its inhabitants. Even the Evil Witch’s Gingerbread House has turned into a palace and the Witch herself is now after much more sinister goals.

With the global release set for the end of 2020, the project has its first introduction to the international buyers at this year’s Marche du Film at Made in Russia stand.

Two companies have agreed that QED Int’l in addition to providing financial support to the project will take responsibility to strengthen the global exposure of jointly produced animation features. QED’s unique position will help Wizart to engage talent from global creative community, substantially broaden the potential of its animation features (including future animated TV series). It is also about the creative component, needed to move the project onto the international level, as well as about the dubbing and soundtrack production. QED’s vast distribution experience and strong connections to other Media Content Capital’s portfolio companies (such as Covert Media and VR Media Technology) will take the promotion of “Hansel and Gretel” to a totally new level.

The companies have also agreed on further co-development of new content for global markets.

This new animated franchise is a new challenge for our team. Almost ten years ago, Wizart was among the first film companies to independently present and sell our animation projects worldwide. This was a very good hands-on experience for me and my team, says Vladimir Nikolaev producer at Wizart Animation, leading producer on the project. – The “Snow Queen” franchise has recently become the top Russian-made project in foreign box-office. “Hansel and Gretel” is created by the same team that successfully worked on “The Snow Queen” for over eight years. So, today the main task for me and my team is to make a globally appealing animated feature, which will not only become an interesting and exciting film for the audiences in any country around the globe – we also have to beat our own record and gross even more in box office than Snow Queen did. We expect that QED/MCC’s participation in this project will help our studio achieve our creative, production and distribution goals much faster and with a higher quality. Our partners have great creative and commercial resources as well as extensive experience on engaging major talent in independent film projects.”

Sasha Shapiro, Managing Director of MCC and CEO of QED, comments: “I have been watching Yuri and his team at Wizart during the last 10 years and I am very excited with the success this company has achieved in animation quality and in creativity. We have been looking into both investment possibilities and creative expansion within family/kids’ genre and I believe that Wizart has all the necessary potentials we have been looking for. In addition, we see a great match between Wizart and QED, where both companies could easily benefit from their unique skills and positioning in their respective markets and businesses. “Hansel and Gretel” is a great starting point and I wish this film a great success.”

Alexandra Modestova, head of Expocontent company (official operator of Made in Russia stand), says: «Hensel and Gretel project will be marked by everything Wizart is known for at domestic and international markets — top-notch animation, production value, great story and characters… Yet due to strong competition in the global media industry even high quality is not enough — one has to engage international talents for the creative part, pay much attention to the project package — translation, sound, music, as well as to smart promotion campaign. QED International is an expert in this field, so this partnership seems very promising and will get the Russian studio to a new level».