Friday 9 October 2020 9:00 am

Exclusive: London film firm secures Hollywood backing for animated blockbuster

A London-based film company has secured backing from two major Hollywood names to produce one of the largest UK-financed feature films in recent years.

Film and TV financing group GCI Film has pumped $37.5m (£29m) into Ozi, an animated environmental film telling the story of the ongoing destruction of the Sumatran rainforest in Indonesia.

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City A.M. can reveal that the company has now won support from Hollywood mogul Mike Medavoy and LA-based Appian Way Productions, who will co-produce the film.

Medavoy has produced over 300 films during his career – including Shutter Island and Black Swan – and has picked up the Oscar for Best Picture seven times.

He will act as executive producer while Appian Way, which has released films such as The Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant, is signed up to co-produce the film.

“It is a real pleasure to be part of Ozi, a film which has brought together creative minds from across the globe – spearheaded by talent from the UK – and I am confident that we will secure a stellar line up when we cast the film later this year,” Medavoy said.

The backing comes as a welcome boost for the UK’s creative industries, which have been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade body the Creative Industries Federation has warned that the crisis could lead to a £77bn fall in revenue across the sector this year, with more than 400,000 jobs at risk.

The film industry has been plunged into further crisis in recent days, with cinema chain Cineworld shuttering its venues following a second delay to the release of the new James Bond film.

Ozi, which was written by Bob the Builder creator Keith Chapman, follows the journey of a teenage orangutan who sets out to find her parents in the rainforest.

The epic animation, which is set to be released in 2022, will be jointly produced in the UK and France.

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The film will be financed through GCI’s unique funding model, which offers additional revenue to media companies in exchange for investment in the production.

The City-based firm’s previous productions include documentary feature film The Fall and thriller She’s Missing.