Rainmaker brings 2 family features to big screen

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Rainmaker Entertainment

Rain­maker Entertainment

Vancouver-based Rain­maker Enter­tain­ment is join­ing forces with fam­ily enter­tain­ment pro­ducer Jane Startz on the devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of two family-oriented ani­mated fea­ture films.

Uti­liz­ing Rainmaker’s exten­sive CGI tal­ents, 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 Rain­maker Enter­tain­ment pres­i­dent and exec­u­tive pro­ducer Cather­ine Winder, who announced the two film projects Wednesday.

Jane is by far one of the most tal­ented pro­duc­ers of fam­ily enter­tain­ment in both film and tele­vi­sion, as evi­denced by her work as the pro­ducer of Ella Enchanted, The Indian In The Cup­board, Tuck Ever­last­ing and the multi-award win­ning The Magic School Bus,” said Winder. “She has also earned a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most respected pro­duc­ers of children’s book adap­ta­tions, and we are very pleased to be part­nered with her on these two excit­ing lit­er­ary prop­er­ties, which both lend them­selves to big-screen adven­tures and storytelling.”

Startz added: “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, 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.

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.

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