H2VEntertainment, a Montreal-based production and distribution house that softlaunched in 2000, is approaching completion on its inaugural slate of threefully financed animation features.

Manga Latina: Killer On The Loose, Monica Made In Americaand Pinatas are all aimed at the teen and young adult market and are dueto wrap in spring 2004.

Fivemore animated titles are in development and the company, which has studioconnections in Spain (Excalibur Animacion) and Argentina (Animatoon), plans aslate of animation and live action titles with varying degrees of Latin-cultureinfluence.

H2VEntertainment is the brainchild of president and chief executive officerHenrique Vera Villanueva, partner and chairman Jose Antonio Rios and Jose LuisGil, the company's president of international operations and corporatecommunications.

Allthree bring a wealth of entertainment experience to the company. Villanueva isa Venezuelan former producer and post production specialist, Rios is a formerpresident of Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica Media, and Gil hasdevelopde talent relations through executive and manager roles.

Thecompany is backed by venture capitalists, shareholder money and private equityinvestment and plans to distribute through its two subsidiaries - H2VDistribution based in Canada and H2V Releasing based in Ireland - as well asthrough strategic alliances with Indigo Films in the UK, Buena VistaInternational in Spain and Portugal and APTN Networks in Canada, among others.

Itsroster of 250 animators includes Animatoon co-founder Alan Best and veterananimation director Manuel Garcia, both of whom played key roles in the initialslate of three titles.

Speakingto Screendaily, Villanueva said H2V planned to be at the vanguard of a new wave of visually attractivestories with a social conscience and universal appeal. The three 2-D films areall based on original concepts and each cost in the $3.5m-$6m range.

"Theyare very provocative and that is the way we wanted them to go out," Villanuevasaid. "We chose to produce them because we knew there was a certain amount ofreticence concerning young adult animation.

"Theseare a slice of life from the point of view of immigrant America." He added thatH2V was keen to use the relative freedom afforded by its financial set-up totell interesting and original stories with popular appeal.

Manga Latina: Killer On The Loose is loosely based on theSon of Sam killings in New York in 1977 and centres on a community's efforts totrack down a serial killer.

Monica Made In America focuses on an elite agent from America's Departmentof Homeland Security as she attempts to bring to justice a terroristmastermind.

Pinatas takes a satirical swipe at politics and the election processand centres on efforts by an ancient order to claim power.

Thefive other animated features in prodution are expected to be ready by mid-2005and early 2006.

Villanuevaand his team will begin attending festivals and markets and in the mid-term H2Vplans to acquire and adapt established non-film brands for the big screen.

"Weare looking for properties that we think have a lot of value but haven't hadmuch exposure in the multimedia arena," Maria Isabel Rios, H2V's corporatestragist, said.