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Digital Domain Inc. Joins a New Consortium in Acquiring Premier Visual Effects Studio in Germany.

VENICE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 17, 1998--Digital Domain Inc. has entered into an agreement with a newly formed consortium to acquire and operate the "state-of-the-art" HDO studio in Oberhausen, Germany.

The consortium is composed of Digital Domain, Kushner-Locke Company, Capitol Films of the United Kingdom, Israeli financial banking firm DLIN Ltd., and Israeli post-production facility Gravity. After the initial purchase of the existing facility from the City of Oberhausen, the consortium will also receive significant German governmental subsidies from the state of North Rhine, Westfalia.

HDO, or High Definition Oberhausen, was completed in 1997, occupies over 100,000 square feet, and is the most technologically advanced production facility outside the United States. Located 20 minutes outside of Dusseldorf, HDO was built to service post-production on feature film visual effects, television production, television commercials, advertising production and interactive media. The current studio is surrounded by another 180,000 square feet of land, which is owned and may also be developed by the consortium.

"It is greatly satisfying," stated Digital Domain COO Dr. Steven J. Fredericks, "that after many months of discussion and negotiation with members of the consortium and the very highest levels of the German government, we have succeeded in forming what we believe will be a remarkable opportunity for European production. It is not coincidental that the formation of the studio is being announced on the eve of monetary implementation of the European Union."

"With the grand consolidation of European economies well under way, we envision HDO becoming a center of visual effects production for all of Europe," explained Digital Domain CEO Scott Ross. "We are extremely pleased that Digital Domain was initially approached to become part of this consortium, and we're ecstatic with the opportunity to expand our efforts more directly into Europe."

Donald Kushner, Kushner-Locke's co-chairman, stated, "We are excited by the opportunity HDO presents to continue our diversification and the possibilities of European co-ventures."

Sharon Harel, co-founder of Capitol Films, stated: "We are delighted Digital Domain has joined our consortium. HDO offers the state-of-the-art facilities necessary to place Europe in the forefront of international film production. This new production capability adds an exciting dimension to Capitol Films as it moves into the next millennium."

Ligad Rotlevy, CEO of DLIN, offered: "We are proud to have created a very strong and professional consortium. We are confident that each of the partners will contribute from their expertise to the success of HDO studios."

Effi Wizen, Gravity Post Production CEO, stated: "HDO is the best strategically located and equipped studio in Europe. With the region's world-renowned creative and technical talent, it is destined to become a major player in the ever-growing global market for computer graphics animation and digital effects in film and television. I believe the combined strengths of this consortium will launch the joint venture in a way that none other could."

Digital Domain recently received its first Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, on the highest-grossing film in motion picture history, director James Cameron's "Titanic." Later, the company received the British Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for "The Fifth Element." Digital Domain's commercial division received the 1998 Gold Clio Award for Best Visual Effects on Isuzu "Giant." And the Software Council of Southern California awarded Digital Domain with the 1997 "Multimedia Company of the Year" Award. Celebrating its fifth anniversary, Digital Domain has clearly established a world-class reputation for innovation and artistry.

The Kushner-Locke Company is a leading independent producer and distributor of feature films, direct to video films, television series, made for television movies, mini-series, and animated programming for theaters, network, and cable television.

For the past decade, Capitol Films has been a leading international sales, finance and production company based in London. Capitol has financed and distributed both European and American films including such award-winning titles as "Dancing at Lughnasa" with Meryl Streep, "Wilde, The Winter Guest" starring Emma Thompson, and Merchant Ivory's "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries."

DLIN, part of the Rotlevy Group, is the leading independent film financing co-producer in Israel. The Rotlevy Group also has vast investments in the textile, real estate, hi-tech, energy and media industries.

Gravity Post Production, an international company based in Tel-Aviv, is the Israeli leading post-production facility. It is partnered with other companies based in New York; Cologne, Germany; and London.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Dec 17, 1998
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