Indian computer graphics company PentaMedia Graphics and US digital effects powerhouse Digital Domain have created a 50:50 joint venture to develop feature-length special effects-driven pictures for the international market.

Further details of the venture, which will be based in Hollywood, will be announced in May. However Chennai (Madras)-based PentaMedia said it is close to finalising a $60m American Depositary Receipts issue to fund the venture.

News emerged earlier in the week that Penta was in talks with Digital Domain about a technical and financial alliance and a formal announcement about the venture was made yesterday (March 13). "Content creation is the future of digital media, and with this new relationship, we will be developing world class marquee motion pictures that will significantly change the model of visual effects productions," said Digital Domain CEO Scott Ross.

PentaMedia chairman and managing director V Chandrasekaran said: "I am looking forward to an on-going relationship with Ross, one of the architects behind the Industrial Light & Magic empire and now the protagonist of Digital Domain. The infrastructure and background of our companies will enhance the richness of content for generations to come."

PentaMedia''''''''s parent Pentafour Software and Exports is one of India''''''''s leading software companies and reported turnover of $126m in 1998-99. The company is listed on the London and Luxembourg stock exchanges and all major stock exchanges in India. The company has business and technology alliances with Apple, Dell (Asia), Eastman Kodak, IBM, SSA, SYNON and Silicon Graphics.

PentaMedia operates a technology studio in Chennai - equipped with blue-screen and motion capture facilities - which creates special effects for computer games and live-action and animated films.

PentaMedia and Silicon Valley-based 3D animation company 3Dmax Media recently signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a $5m credit facility in India. The two companies plan to produce a 90-minute 3D animated feature Starwave which will feature digital recreations of classic Hollywood stars.