Chennai-based firm to produce Buddha movie

The Times of India News Service

SINGAPORE: A Chennai-based multimedia company is teaming up with Singapore's Economic Development Board to make a high-tech animated movie about the life of the Buddha, officials said on Wednesday.

India's Pentamedia Graphics Ltd is hiring 105 software engineers and other computer experts in Singapore to work on the $6 million film, titled Buddha, the company said.

Pentamedia, based in Chennai decided to tie up with Singapore because of the city-state's high-tech infrastructure and large pool of computer experts, said K. Srinivasan, the company's director and chief operating officer.

The project is part of the Singapore government's drive to make the country an Asian "hub" for high-tech industries and media. The Economic Development Board or EDB is coordinating personnel and technical resources for the film, and providing "incentives" for Pentamedia to work in Singapore, EDB managing director Ko Kheng Hwa said. He declined to give further details.

The 90-minute feature film will use traditionally hand-drawn, two-dimensional characters on a computer-generated, three-dimensional background, Srinivasan said at a news conference.

Computer-generated animation is faster and far cheaper to produce and works well for background, but hand-drawn images "give a real, human facial expression to a character," Srinivasan said.

It will take at least 18 months to make the film, which Pentamedia hopes to release first in Asia and then in Europe and North America, Srinivasan added. The venture could lead to more such projects if successful, Ko and Srinivasan said. (AP)

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