Vancouver, Canada - Rainmaker Entertainment, the multifaceted animation studio and one of Canada's largest producers of CG animation, is joining forces with Jane Startz, the producer of family entertainment, on the development and production of two family-oriented feature films.
The two films--Tiger's Apprentice, based on Newbury Honor winner Laurence Yep's best-selling young adult novel of the same title, and
Far Flung Adventures: Fergus Crane, based on the children's fantasy tale written by Paul Stewart and illustrated by Chris Riddell, which was also the winner of the Nestle Children's Book Prize--will be produced by Startz and Catherine Winder, president and executive producer, Rainmaker Entertainment.
Startz notes: "I've been waiting for the right opportunity to bring Tiger's Apprentice to the big screen. The book's mythology is so rich and one that has not been seen before. The rich storylines are further enhanced by visually exciting and complex characters. Fergus Crane is fresh and funny and has all the elements to become a classic evergreen family film. I look forward to working with Catherine and the talented, creative forces at Rainmaker to adapt both these properties into exceptional movie going experiences."
Oscar nominated screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland,
The Life of Pi) has written the feature adaptation to
Tiger's Apprentice, the first book in a trilogy that follows the adventures of Asian-American teenager Tom Lee, whose beloved grandmother is killed trying to protect a rare and precious ageless object, which is then stolen by a mythical creature upon her death.
Orphaned, Tom is put under the protection of Mr. Hu, a mystical tiger and three other creatures from the Chinese Zodiac--a monkey, a dragon and a rat--all of whom can also take human form. Together, Mr. Hu and his unlikely comrades have to train Tom to become a warrior capable of retreating the stolen treasure.
David Berenbaum (Elf,
The Spiderwick Chronicles,
The Haunted Mansion) wrote the screenplay for Fergus Crane. The story is a rollicking comedic adventure that focuses on Fergus, a poor 10-year old boy whose explorer father has mysteriously disappeared on his "last fateful voyage." When pirates, passing themselves off as teachers offering Fergus and the other underprivileged children of his seaside town a free education, come searching for him, a mystery of epic proportions begins to unravel and Fergus must leave the safety of his home on a fantastical voyage to save those he cares about.
In 1997, Jane Startz formed her own independent production company, Jane Startz Productions Inc., which specializes in developing and producing high quality family based properties across all media. In addition to her film and television projects, Startz is a media consultant to publishing houses in the U.S. and the U.K., the creator of the young adult book series, Amigas
Inc. published by Hyperion/Disney Press and the co-founder of Ridemakerz Inc., an award-winning immersive new concept in experiential retail where kids of all ages can build and design their own model cars and trucks. Ridemakerz is a playzone in all Disney stores and has provided all the design and customization work for the Disney Cars merchandise. Ridemakerzs products are available in over 1,500 Toys R Us stores.
Prior to starting her own company, Startz was the co-founder and executive vice president of Scholastic Productions, the film and television division of Scholastic Inc., the largest publisher of materials for young people in the English-speaking world. During Startz's creative aegis, the company grew to be one of the preeminent producers of family entertainment. Startz launched Scholastic Productions in the television series arena with the long running comedy series, Charles in Charge, as well as the hugely popular children's series,
The Magic School Bus. Startz has received over 50 major awards in the category of children's and family programming. These include two Golden Globe Nominations, six Emmys, 10 Emmy Nominations, two Ace Awards, Parents Choice Awards, and an Action for Children's Television Award.