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China's Most Expensive Animated Film to Be Released

Thru the Moebius Strip, the most-expensive animated film ever made in China which features more than 400 artists from eight countries, will hit screens in China Friday.

The 16.25-million-US-dollar animation, about a resourceful boy's adventure, is thoroughly western in terms of visual style, content and characterisation, Teresa Cao, assistant to the general manager of the Institute of Digital Media Technology (Shenzhen) Limited (IDMT), the movie's producer, told Xinhua Thursday.

"We spent five years making the three-dimensional film," Cao said, adding that many famous foreign artists appear in the credit list, including director Glenn Chaika (Mulan 2), animation supervisor Kelvin Lee (City of Angels and Stuart Little) and Bob Koch (Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life).

The film was inspired by Frenchman Jean Moebius Giraud, who is widely acknowledged as one of the major influences in the visual arts field for his contributions to Alien, The Abyss and The Fifth Element.

"We will deliver more than 100 copies nationwide and expect to earn over 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million) at the box office on the Chinese mainland," Cao said.

Overseas distribution rights for the movie have been sold to more than 10 countries. Merchandising products such as illustration albums, novels, clothes, accessories and toys will go on sale later, she said.

The film was made in English with Chinese as second language, a first for China-made films.

After peaking in the 1960-70s, China's animation industry was overwhelmed by Japanese and American rivals. Thru the Moebius Strip is another attempt to climb up the rankings following Lotus Lantern (1999), The Butterfly Lovers (2003) and Little Soldier of Zhangga (2005).

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2006)

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