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Virtual Katy, Secures 'Thunderbirds' Deal In UK

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Kiwi sound editing software company, Virtual Katy, secures 'Thunderbirds' deal at UK Pinewood Studios following ground breaking success with 'Lord of the Rings'

Sparkbox boosts Virtual Katy's international growth with angel investment

AUCKLAND, 11 March 2004 - Virtual Katy, the New Zealand software company that revolutionised motion picture sound editing in Lord of the Rings, today announced another significant offshore deal. Virtual Katy software will be used in the production of the live action Thunderbirds movie starring Ben Kingsley, currently being filmed at the world famous Pinewood Studios near London. The international success comes off the back of the recent injection of funds and business skills from Auckland angel investor firm Sparkbox, which has taken a 30% shareholding in Virtual Katy.

Virtual Katy is a unique sound editing tool that revolutionises the way sound is edited in movies, drastically reducing the time spent re-conforming sound sequences and therefore greatly accelerating the production process. "What took 5 hours of intensive splicing by sound engineers can now be done automatically by Virtual Katy in a mere 10 minutes," said John McKay, founder of Virtual Katy. "The software allows film directors and sound editors to divert 25% of their time back to the creative elements of movie production."

Virtual Katy Ltd was established in Wellington in 2002 during the production of the second LOTR movie, The Two Towers. A member of the Oscar winning sound editing team for that movie, John McKay developed the Virtual Katy software in response to the demanding special effects needs of the LOTR production.

Ethan Van Der Ryn, Supervising Sound Editor for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Oscar winner for The Two Towers, said that "Virtual Katy was a lifesaver. It allowed us to cope with a constantly changing picture, bringing efficiency, speed and ultimate flexibility that, until now, has just been a pipe dream."

Sparkbox CEO, Gael de Kerdanet, said that the unique technology and untapped global market made Virtual Katy a compelling investment proposition. "John McKay is a highly talented and respected sound editor who has grown the company from ground up. With Sparkbox's business development expertise and access to international markets, Virtual Katy is now empowered to realise its huge international growth potential."

Sparkbox and NZ Trade and Enterprise develop overseas sales leads

Mr McKay said that Sparkbox has given Virtual Katy the much needed business acumen to develop and market the solution, gaining the attention of the international film industry. In 2000, the Unites States movie industry alone was worth US$8.4 billion.

Virtual Katy has also received significant assistance from trade and economic development agency, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. "NZTE staff in New Zealand and overseas have been very helpful developing sales in the United States and Britain, as well as providing business mentoring advice," he said.

About Sparkbox

Established in June 2001, Sparkbox is New Zealand's only professional angel investment company, filling the current equity investment gap between incubators and venture capital funds within the New Zealand technology sector. The firm provides the capital and business skills required to take start-up companies with high growth potential from incubator stage all the way through to mature equity placement. Sparkbox is a member of the New Zealand Venture Capital Association and an associate member of Incubators New Zealand.

More information at www.sparkbox.co.nz

ENDS

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