DQ Entertainment to set up Visual Arts School across India

MUMBAI: AIM listed DQ Entertainment is planning to set up DQE Schools of Visual Arts across India. The company has taken this step so as to create new talent to feed its ongoing production expansion.

The first of the DQE Schools of Visual Arts will be operational this month. While DQ Entertainment will be setting up two such schools in Hyderabad, it will also roll out one each in Chennai and Mumbai.

While DQ Entertainment chairman and CEO Tapaas Chakravarti refused to divulge the total investment being pumped in for setting up these schools, he informs Businessofcinema.com that “investments are commensurate for top of the line infrastructure along with national and international mentors."

"DQE has consistently been imparting in-house training to associates and has honed training skills over the last several years. Youngsters are today looking at animation as a serious career option, and we feel as the largest production company, we can add tremendous value in this sphere by imparting training to the Indian youth desirous of taking up this career," he adds.

"DQ also aims to bridge the demand supply gap, which currently exists in the company for next couple of years and in this industry and keep up expanding the ‘talent base’ that will take Indian animation to new heights. The objective is to create a highly skilled talent pool capable of delivering ‘world class’ animation,” he says.

While the company has strengthened its workforce from 2,200 at the time of IPO to over 3100 currently; it has also established a number of initiatives to ensure that it has access to a readily available, trained pool of labour.

DQE has set up training academies in partnership with the State Government of Madhya Pradesh and the State Government of Rajasthan in the respective state capitals of Bhopal and Jaipur. The courseware and the instructors will be provided by the company and in return it will have access to trained manpower on preferential basis.

DQE was recently also invited by the Department of Information Technology, Government of West Bengal to develop production facilities in the city of Kolkata.

The company is all set to announce its maiden results in June this year. Throwing light on the expectations from the company’s upcoming preliminary results, Chakravarti says, “DQ Entertainment is optimistic of meeting expectations and has a positive outlook for the future backed by a strong order book. We believe we are very well placed to leverage our established client relationships and proven production capabilities to capitalise on national and international opportunities.”

DQ Entertainment has also inked joint venture with Ireland’s Telegael for post production facilities. Discussions to execute an agreement between the two parties are in final stages. “We have entered into a memorandum of understanding with Telegael, Ireland to set up a 50:50 joint venture for post-production,” informs Chakravarti.

Over the last few months, DQ Entertainment has invested in co-production of films, DVD productions and television series in order to obtain larger percentages of the global, cross-platform intellectual property and distribution rights in its productions.

The company recently acquired a 20 per cent stake in Method Films SA, France. Method Films has produced several TV series, created in-house and co-produced with DQE, such as Skyland, Les Gnoufs, Jet Grooves and Mikido and has rejuvenated strong international brands such as Iron Man in co-production with Marvel Entertainment and DQE. Joint global co-production projects produced and under production have already generated Euro 19.9 million in direct benefits for DQE.

DQE also inked an MoU with Pritish Nandy Communications and Percept Picture Company. DQE and PNC will co-develop and co-produce six movies over the next three-four years, with an estimated total global budget of approximately $ 45-50 million. On the other hand, DQE and PPC will co-develop three animated films, two of which are in the mythology genre and the third film will have a Bollywood theme and an estimated budget of approximately $ 25 million. The films are planned for release from 2009 onwards.

Additionally, the company has inked an MoU with Think Corporation in Japan for co-production of three animated high end 3D CGI TV Series and a direct-to-home video / feature film. The total budget for these productions is estimated to be approximately $ 24 million. The TV series and film will be released from 2009 onwards.

The company is also working on co-productions with American Greetings, Marvel Entertainment and Classic Media.

Going forward, the company is looking at investing in co-productions in order to obtain larger percentages of the global intellectual property and distribution rights in its productions, while also consolidating and expanding on its service revenues.

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