Japanese CG animation house Marza Animation Planet, owned by Sega Sammy Holdings, has started pre-production on its first original animated feature Robodog.  

The film will be directed by Henry F. Anderson III, who was the animation director on Walt Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet, and produced by Paul Wang who produced Summit’s Astro Boy and Warner Bros’ TMNT.

The producers plan to use A-list talent to voice the family adventure about a robotic dog and his grumpy old “real” dog friend who’s seen it all.

Fully financed by Sega Sammy, the company behind the Sonic The Hedgehog video game, Marza plans to produce one feature film every 12 months. The company also recently appointed Masanao Maeda – the former president and COO of SEGA Of America – as CEO.

The company’s executive team also includes executive vice president Kazunobu Takita and head of production Jeannette Manifold, whose credits include the two Happy Feet films and All Dogs Go To Heaven. Based in Tokyo, the company also has a creative development office in San Francisco.

Maeda, Takita and Marza marketing and distribution executives Ai Inoue and Mie Onishi will be in Cannes to introduce Robodog and upcoming projects to sales companies, distributors and other potential partners.

“Our mission is to produce high quality 3D CG animated films with global appeal while using cost efficient production methods and high caliber filmmaking teams from around the globe,” said Manifold.

Maeda added: “Marza is combining global talent and Japanese creativity together to deliver the very best in animated production.”