20-06-2023

FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with CEO/Executive Producer and Managing Partner of Circle Studio

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    Yuri Gorpinevici and Steven Fong Yuri Gorpinevici and Steven Fong credit: Fionna Tan, Managing Partner

    PRAGUE: FNE spoke to Steven Fong, CEO & Executive Producer and Yuri Gorpinevici, Managing Partner of Circle Studio, about their ambitions, as well as the state of the Czech animation and game development industries. Circle Studio was launched in Malaysia and just recently it has set up another entity in the Czech Republic.

    Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important locations for global games developers and studios, and artists in the region are increasingly working for both film and games. FNE looks at how these two sectors of the entertainment industry are converging and why this trend is important for the future development of both.

    FNE: When was the Circle Studio (Malaysia) founded and what have been your main missions and strategic projects so far?

    Steven Fong: Circle Studio MY is an animation powerhouse established in 2017 and has since been delivering high quality animation productions for our clientele. We aspire to venture beyond the animation medium, and grow into an entertainment and creative media hub, creating and nurturing intellectual property that is unique to Southeast Asia, bringing our diverse stories and natural beauty to the world.

    We have been working closely with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) that has provided us with industry insights and funding opportunities. Along with that, being an EPIC Mega Grants Recipient and certified Unreal Authorised Training Center has given us the opportunity to develop our expertise in Unreal further.

    We’re fortunate to have worked with AAA game studios, Disney, Warner Brothers to name a few. With our core expertise in Character Animation and Unreal Engine solutions.

    FNE: You've just set up our entity in the Czech Republic. What are your plans and goals?

    Yuri Gorpinevici: Czech Republic is a strategic location for us as it allows us to bridge between North America, Europe and Asia. We intend to be a global transmedia entertainment hub and we’re focused on developing strategic partnerships with studios, distributors, broadcasters, publishers and IP creators.

    We believe in making connections and building relationships as we want to grow collaboratively. It is not an easy industry to thrive in, hence what better way than to partner up with like-minded people and grow together.

    One of the key projects that we’re working on currently is developing a character-based IP called, Kalistar. The target age group is 3 - 6. It is an ambitious multi-media IP development project, in 2023 we’re on track to publish 12 hardcopy storybooks in multiple geographies and intending to complete a short teaser for a feature film/animated series production in 2023.

    FNE: What can you tell us about your experience of game cinematics? As I know you have experience using UE, which is close to the game industry.

    Steven Fong: We tell stories. This is one of the reasons why we love doing game cinematics as it gives us a chance to creatively capture the essence of the game and piece it together visually to tell a compelling story in less than two minutes!

    Also, it is something that is close to our heart at Circle Studio because our debut into the animation industry was with a game cinematic that we did for DOTA KL Major in 2018. We completed the entire full production project from group up in Unreal.

    We work closely with EPIC in our usage of Unreal Engine and we have made significant investments in our team to develop the expertise and know-how. We have been using Unreal for our game cinematics ever since our first production. Unreal Engine is a fantastic tool, but it does come with its challenges too. That's why we do have in place a small R&D team to focus on Unreal.

    FNE: What can you tell us about the Czech animation and game industries?

    Yuri Gorpinevici: Czech animation has been the pioneer that dates back more than a century! However, a lot has changed since then and we do hope to work closely together with the Czech Film Fund and the Association of Czech Animation Film to bring Czech animation to the global audience.

    The Czech game industry, on the other hand, has been growing by double digits in the last five years with more than 100 studios developing games on different platforms. It is home to many indie studios and a hub for gaming companies. Hence Czech animation stands to benefit from the dynamic growth of the game industry as long as it stays innovative and relevant.

    FNE: How do you see the development of the relationship between the film and games industries?

    Steven Fong: The development of the relationship between the film and games industries is an exciting and evolving trend. With advancements in technology and a growing demand for immersive experiences, the lines between these two industries are indeed becoming blurred. This creates cross-industry partnerships that will push boundaries of storytelling and interactivity. Thus offering audiences a cohesive and immersive experience across multiple platforms.

    A good example will be the Fortnite platform, whereby EPIC has made heavy investments to allow just about any creator to create an experience for their users. At Circle, we’re working to create an entire IP animation with UEFN together with the support of the EPIC team. We’ve made good progress with the R&D team to understand the potential and usability, building the know-how within UEFN. It is definitely a game changer!

    Read 2043 times Last modified on 20-06-2023