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New Developer 'Union Entertainment' Comes To Life

by Rainier on March 31, 2004 @ 3:48 p.m. PST

Film and Video Game production company Union Entertainment announced today the procurement of development financing for the company’s video game division. Backed by Korean software company Digital Tetra, the fund provides $1.2 million for Union to develop new games to a playable demo level before shopping the titles to game publishers. The deal was brokered by Clemensen Capital.

With the fund in place, Union will concentrate its development on games based on big budget studio films, which are either in development or early stages of production. The fund will also enable the production of original video games that have strong potential to be developed into feature films.

“The barrier to entry in video game publishing is not only compelling content, but a demonstration of how well the game plays,” stated Richard Leibowitz, Union co-founder and President of Union’s Video Game Division. “With this fund we will continue to partner with the world’s best video game developers to produce exceptional interactive entertainment.”

Union was founded in January 2003 by video game industry veteran Leibowitz and film producer Sean O’Keefe after both recognized the need for a production company in Hollywood that could develop films and video games under one roof.

Leibowitz has a history of turning Hollywood properties into video games with deals for Monsters Inc., Jimmy Neutron, Ice Age, The Grinch, Alien vs. Predator and Scooby Doo as some of the many under his belt. Before establishing Union, Leibowitz founded Zoom, a video game agency that focused on representing video game development companies rather than individual talent. At Zoom, Leibowitz secured deals for developers such as Artificial Mind & Movement, Bits, Bureau of Film and Games, Climax, Phoenix Soft, and Studio Gigante with publishers such as Activision, Disney, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Midway, Sony, Take 2, THQ, Ubisoft, and Vivendi Universal Games. Prior to Zoom, Leibowitz co-founded R.E.D., the first Hollywood-style video game agency. Leibowitz started his career at Paramount Pictures’ Domestic Television department before becoming Rysher Entertainment’s Vice President of International Business and Legal Affairs.

O’Keefe was previously a senior producer at Artists Production Group where he managed an extensive slate of projects, working with such directors as Martin Scorsese, John McTiernan, Nick Hamm, and F. Gary Gray, amongst others. Most recently, O’Keefe produced Godsend, a thriller starring Robert De Niro. O’Keefe got his start in the film business working for Neal Moritz at Original Film.

“The fund will enhance our efforts to integrate film and video game development as we continue to build the franchises of the future,” O’Keefe said.

About Union Entertainment

Established in January 2003 by video game industry veteran Richard Leibowitz and film producer Sean O'Keefe, Union produces both feature films and video games of every genre through the major Hollywood studios and video game publishers.

By having film and video game production centralized through one company, Union is uniquely positioned to build franchises in both mediums and enable film and video game talent to work together in all aspects of the creative process.

Additionally, through its relationships in Hollywood, Union is able to identify films in early development and concurrently produce games for 'day and date' release. Leveraging its strong ties to the game world, Union also identifies games in development that have movie potential and concurrently produces films based on those games.

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