Studio Hamburg Produktion (SHP), a production arm of Studio Hamburg, and Berlin-based Ellipse Deutschland Film- und Fernsehproduktion have joined forces to work together on animation projects for film and television.

In a first phase of the collaboration, the partners are planning to co-develop and produce four projects including TV animation series and feature films, which will all be targeted to the international market.

Ellipse Deutschland was founded last year as a German offshoot of France's Studio Canal and Expand groups to focus on family entertainment and, in particular, on animation, and currently is developing three animation series - Siegfried, Patsy And Aunt B and Little King Macius - and two "high concept" features for the international market, The Canterville Ghost and The Porcelain Princess.

SHP's involvement in the animation sector, on the other hand, is quite recent: Andreas Ulmer was appointed last year to develop the studio's animation activities, and a number of projects are now in development including classic 2-D as well as computer-generated 3-D animation.

According to Ellipse's managing director Stephan Schesch, the partnership with SHP will "facilitate [Ellipse's] entrance as a big German producer to the national market", while SHP's Dirk Duewel suggested that the collaboration will similarly open the door for the Hamburg production house to the international animation market and added that "the partnership with Ellipse enables Studio Hamburg to develop rapidly and professionally within this strategically important future market".