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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"First Squad" Award-Winning Anime Acquired by Anchor Bay Entertainment

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Anchor Bay Entertainment announced today it has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the award-winning animated thriller First Squad The Moment of Truth from LA-based XYZ Films.  The film was created and written by Misha Sprits and Aljosha Klimov and directed by Yoshiharu Ashino (Pokemon: Jirachi-Wish Maker, Piglets Big Movie).  The film was produced by Molot Films and Studio 4C.

First Squad has garnered several nominations and awards including the Kommersant Newspaper’s Prizes at the Moscow International Film Festival, as well as Best Animated Feature at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.  The film has also screened at the Locarno , Moscow , Tallinn , Sitges and Fantastic Fest Film Festivals.

“First Squad offers fans a unique storyline about WWII and has received noticed from several film festivals,” commented Anchor Bay Entertainment President Bill Clark.  “ Anchor Bay is pleased to be releasing the film on both DVD and Blu-ray later this summer.”

The deal for First Squad was negotiated by James Shapiro and Kevin Carney for Anchor Bay Entertainment / Manga Entertainment and Todd Brown for XYZ Films.

Set during the opening days of World War II on the Eastern Front, its main cast is a group of Soviet teens with extraordinary abilities.  The teenagers have been drafted to form a special unit to fight the invading German army.  They are opposed by a Schutzstaffel (SS) officer who is attempting to raise from the dead a supernatural army of crusaders from the 12th Century Order of the Sacred Cross and enlist them in the Nazi cause. 

Studio 4C is one of the most respected animation houses in the world, responsible for overseeing the ANIMATRIX project for Warner Brothers while also producing an impressive slate of hugely acclaimed titles of their own including the GENIUS PARTY anthology films, Masaaki Yuasa’s MIND GAME and Michael Arias’ TEKKON KINKREET. First Squad marks Molot Films first picture and the company is currently preparing additional animated projects that will start production later this year.

About XYZ Films

XYZ FILMS is an LA-based film production and sales company founded by partners Nate Bolotin, Nick Spicer, and Aram Tertzakian.  XYZ's production slate includes Ole Bornedal’s DEATH OF HOSTESS along with Endgame Entertainment; the action-thriller LAND OF THE FREE to be directed by Ric Roman Waugh; a heist film with Darren Aronofsky (THE WRESTLER); and a crime thriller about automotive maverick John DeLorean with Alex Holmes ("House of Saddam"). Several of XYZ’s projects were cultivated from an exclusive one year partnership with Time Inc., the publisher of such magazines as Time, Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated and Life. founder and editor-in-chief Todd Brown joined the company in 2009 as a partner and serves as its Head of Acquisitions.

About Anchor Bay Entertainment

Anchor Bay Entertainment is the home entertainment division of Starz Media, LLC. It includes the Anchor Bay Films and Manga Entertainment brands. It distributes feature films, children’s entertainment, fitness, TV series, documentaries, anime and other filmed entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray formats. It is the exclusive distributor in the U.S. of the theatrical titles from Overture Films. Headquartered in Beverly Hills , CA , Anchor Bay Entertainment has offices in Troy , MI , as well as Canada , the United Kingdom and Australia . Starz Media ( is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.

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