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RichCrest Animation now Crest Animation Prods; Fogelson is CEO

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MUMBAI: RichCrest Animation, the US-based production arm of Indian CGI animation major Crest Animation Studios, has been renamed Crest Animation Productions and is expanding its business to become a full-service animation studio specializing in the development and production of CGI-animated properties for theatrical, television, home entertainment and interactive distribution.

Coming on board as CEO of Crest Animation is Noah Fogelson. The DIC Entertainment veteran’s mandate is to spearhead Crest Animation’s expansion leveraging the recent $ 40 million fund infusion from global investment firm DE Shaw.

With the fund infusion, Crest Animation is in a position to provide the financing to develop and produce intellectual properties for worldwide distribution across theatrical, home entertainment, television and internet media.

Crest Animation Studios received a total capital infusion of $40 million from DE Shaw Group. Crest Animation will issue 3.385 million shares (14.99 per cent of the company) at Rs 120 ($2.5) to DE Shaw to raise $8.7 million. Crest will also allot securities worth a 26 percent stake in its US subsidiary RichCrest Holdings to raise another $15.75 million. Further, it would avail up to $15.75 million in guarantee funding towards film financing. This makes it a total of $40.2 million in funding.

Fogelson was EVP/GM at DIC Entertainment (DIC), where he facilitated the company's public offering on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market in 2005. Prior to DIC, Fogelson practiced corporate and entertainment law at Greenberg Glusker in Los Angeles.

"Noah's background and extensive experience in this field are integral to the growth of Crest Animation Prods." said Seemha Ramanna, MD, Crest Animation Studios. "We are thrilled to have an executive of Noah's caliber on board who can maintain and develop our existing relationships with key US producers and distributors and at the same time propel the company forward with our new agenda."

"Our studio facilities in India enable us to produce the highest quality CGI-animated projects at a fraction of the cost of most major studio CGI features to date," said Fogelson. "Couple this with the substantial commitment from the DE Shaw group to finance a slate of new properties, and we are now in a position to work with partners to create a catalog of innovative intellectual properties for the global entertainment marketplace."

Founded in 1986 by Richard Rich as Rich Animation, the Los Angeles area studio was subsequently acquired by Crest. It has become widely respected in the industry for producing animated content for film and television, such as six 2D animated features (including The Trumpet Of The Swan for Columbia TriStar and The King And I for Warner Bros.), as well as 60 half-hours of animated television and direct-to-video content in both 2D and CGI.

India-based parent Crest Animation Studios has delivered more than 150 half hours of television and home video titles in CGI animation, working for such clients as Mike Young Prods, Mark Brown, Classic Media, Nelvana, American Greetings, Marathon and Nickelodeon.

Jakers! The Adventures Of Piggley Winks, the first television series Crest animated for Mike Young Prods., received a daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Children's Animated Program. Other recent projects include animation for such properties as Bratz, Casper, and Arthur.

Richard Rich, who began his career in feature animation at Disney, has directed eight animated features to date and will continue on at Crest Animation Prods as president of production. The company is in development on a slate of animated features under the 2005 strategic partnership with Lionsgate Family Ent.

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