EXCLUSIVE: Currently in post-production, the $10m fantasy adventure is directed by Chris Huang.

The Arti: The Adventure Begins

Hong Kong-based Golden Network Asia has picked up international rights to Taiwanese 3D puppet animation The Arti: The Adventure Begins, which Warner Bros will release in Taiwan next Chinese New Year.

Currently in post-production, the $10m fantasy adventure is produced by Pili International Multimedia and Puppetmotion Entertainment, with backing from Taiwanese retail chains Family Mart and 7-11.

Pili is the creator of Taiwan’s iconic Pili Puppet Theatre show, which is broadcast as a top-rating TV series and sells 400,000 units on DVD every month. Pili’s Chris Huang has directed the film, while his brother Vincent Huang produced.

In the film version, the son and daughter of a family accused of treason are forced to cross the desert with their wooden robot, but are pursued by a jealous prince with designs to construct his own robot army. Co-produced by China’s Toonmax and Zhujiang Film, the film will also receive a wide release in mainland China next year.

“We’ve filmed in stereoscopic 3D and used cutting-edge VFX technology to create an original experience and a completely new genre,” explained Puppetmotion general manager Ryan Fu.

Chinese puppet theatre originated in southern China but moved to Taiwan where the puppets became bigger and the costumes and sets more elaborate. The puppets are more than a metre high and manipulated from below by highly skilled puppet masters.