New Zealand film producers Michael Bennett and Maile Daugherty have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to jointly develop and produce their next feature film project, Downside Story, with Beijing based digital animation company Xing Xing Digital Corporation.
Downside Story, a 3-D animated family action adventure feature film set in Shanghai, has an estimated production budget of US$15 million and has been conceived to work across different language platforms for Chinese and international audiences.
Michael Bennett and Maile Daugherty, Downside Story‘s co-producers met Xing Xing at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival through Michael Stephens, New Zealand’s International Delegate to the Shanghai International Film Festival. Michael Stephens also brokered the MoU covering the advanced development and financing phase of the project.
Michael Bennett and Maile Daugherty said, “Downside attracted significant interest at the Shanghai Film Festival market and the partnership with leading Chinese production house Xing Xing Digital is the result.
“New Zealand and China are two of the most vibrant and exciting film industries in the world at the moment and we are absolutely thrilled at the prospect of forging new ground and bringing our two industries closer through the production of this movie. Xing Xing is an ideal partner for the Downside Story project.
“We would also like to acknowledge the support we received from the NZ Film Commission that enabled us to attend the Festival.”
Michael Bennett’s recent works include the feature film Matariki, award-winning short films Cow and Kerosene Creek, and television series Outrageous Fortune and Kaitangata Twitch.
Maile Daugherty is an experienced producer specialising in VFX and animation whose recent credits include Insatiable Moon and Rest for the Wicked.
Maile Daugherty said, “The Festival has provided a great springboard for Downside; meeting Xing Xing’s President Lifeng Wang and Executive Producer Steven Katz, assured us that they have the expertise, vision, and tremendous enthusiasm for the Downside project. We all share a belief that this is a film project with huge potential to do well in China and internationally.”
Xing Xing have worked on major international motion pictures including Twilight, Changeling, Tropic Thunder and Red Cliff.
Downside Story was the NZ film project selected for this year’s Shanghai Film Festival’s International Co-production Pitch and Catch programme.
Michael Stephens said, “This is an exciting co-production project and well-positioned to take advantage of the NZ/China Film Co-production Agreement signed last year. It is also a great acknowledgement of the growing reputation of the New Zealand film industry overseas, and in Asia in particular which is of increasing importance to us.”