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Wightlink’s £45million investment in the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route improves punctuality

Statistics from August 2017 – the busiest month of the year – show Wightlink’s terminal improvements have made a significant difference to punctuality on the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route.

The numbers of sailings arriving on time this August on Wightlink’s busiest service increased by more than a third, compared to August 2016 levels. This is because staff can load and unload its flagship St Clare more quickly using new double deck boarding ramps. Cars and small vans embark and disembark on the upper deck while lorries, coaches and other large vehicles use the lower deck. The new system has reduced the turnaround time to around 15 minutes.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “We thank our customers and neighbours for their patience during our construction work at both Portsmouth and Fishbourne. The temporary disruption to our services has been worth it because punctuality has improved. We are delighted that the majority of our sailings are now running on time, even on some of the busiest days during the holiday season, and will welcome our new ship Victoria of Wight in summer 2018.”

Isle of Wight CounciI Leader Councillor Dave Stewart says: “I have followed with interest the progress of Wightlink’s £45million investment in the Portsmouth route since it gained planning permission last year. I am pleased the new two-tier boarding ramps at Fishbourne and Portsmouth are now working well and helping to make the service more efficient. We look forward to the new ship arriving next year.

“The investment by Wightlink is an important part of our ambition to regenerate the Island’s economy as we move forward.”

More improvements to the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route lie ahead. Plans have been unveiled for a new terminal entrance at Fishbourne to reduce queuing and Wightlink’s new customer building in Portsmouth is nearing completion.

For more information, contact Karen Woods 07775 694266 karen@karenwoods.biz<mailto:karen@karenwoods.biz>

Karen Woods, Communications, Wightlink, Isle of Wight Ferries, Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth, PO1 3PS

M: 07775 694266

E: karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk<mailto:karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk>

 

New event at Blackgang: Extinction

Breaking news!   A meteorite has crashed down upon Blackgang Chine and the effects are most peculiar.   Instead of causing extinction, it has brought our pre-historic animals back to life.   Are you brave enough to come and discover more in this new event, Extinction, taking place at Blackgang Chine on Isle of Wight Day, Saturday 23rd September.

Come and meet our not-so-extinct baby dinosaurs and mischievous dodos and be amazed by our Shadow & Sheila show featuring our very playful resident T-Rex dinos.     Plus join our Victorian hunters in the NEW Dino Digs show, in their quest to dig for pre-historic remains in this fun, interactive activity.  What will you find in the depths of the sand?

Lots of fun with a little bit of mischief and mayhem too, for all the family to enjoy.  Park open 10am – 5pm with activities starting at 11am.  For full programme visit : www.blackgangchine.com

ENDS.

For further information please contact Michelle Russell, Vectis Ventures Limited : 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk

Visit Isle of Wight launches new Literary Heroes Trail

Following hard on the heels of the launch of its Victoria’s Island Trail to celebrate the appearance of the Victoria & Abdul movie, Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) has now published a new Literary Heroes Trail which visitors to the Island can follow all-year-round.

One of the highlights of the Literary Heroes Trail is the newly re-opened Farringford in Freshwater, where the renowned poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson once lived (https://farringford.co.uk).

The dramatic Gothic house has been the subject of a meticulous five-year restoration project, and is decorated in a late 19th Century style that reflects Tennyson’s tastes and interests.  The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with a full walled garden.

Other key locations on the Trail include the sailing village of Seaview, where author Enid Blyton was a regular visitor; and the traditional seaside resort of Ventnor, where Charles Dickens rented Winterbourne in Bonchurch – describing it to his wife as, “The prettiest place I ever saw in my life.”

Author Lynne Truss – a regular visitor to the Island – edited the new Literary Heroes Trail leaflet.  “I’m not the first writer to be inspired by this jewel of an island,” she says.  “Writers have breathed the air here, walked the cliffs and gazed at the glittering sea – and then dashed home to put pen to paper.”

Continuing the rich literary tradition of the island, the latest Isle of Wight Literary Festival (taking place from October 12 to 15) once again offers a diverse programme – with speakers ranging from poets, politicians, historians, biographers, journalists, fiction writers, award-winning authors, actors and scientists.  The event is mainly based at Northwood House, a Grade II* manor house set in 20 acres of parkland in the heart of Cowes.  (http://isleofwightliteraryfestival.com).

The launch of the trail follows the success of the Isle of Wight’s Victoria’s Island Trail, which was created specially to celebrate the release of major feature film ‘Victoria & Abdul’ in cinemas.  Victoria’s Island Trail includes well-known places the Queen loved as well as lesser known locations that reveal deep connections between the Royals and the Island.

Both Trails are designed for anyone with an interest in a bygone era – an era which proved to be especially golden for the Isle of Wight; and find out why the Island continues to influence a whole new generation of authors.

Visitors can use the Literary Heroes Trail to navigate their way around the Island using an interactive map, and pick-and-choose from a host of Island hotspots linked to the literary greats; from secluded villages and hamlets, to bustling seaside towns.

The trail also reveals some of its own, home-grown talent, including Oscar winning screenwriter Anthony Minghella who wrote The English Patient.

A video about the Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail featuring author, Lynne Truss, can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uNNhilWpJnI

For more information, including details of the full range of accommodation, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672, sue@visitwight.co.uk

Notes to Editors

Visit Isle of Wight:

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight. As well as the consumer website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

 

 

FESTIVAL OF LIGHT INSPIRED BY DIWALI

CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF INDIA’S INDEPENDENCE

This autumn, Robin Hill’s popular electric woods event, Festival of Light inspired by Diwali, will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary of India’s independence with stunning, creatively themed light, colour, sound and entertainment that captures the many aspects of Indian culture: wild India, modern India, decorative India, historical India, urban India, celebration and spiritual India.

Every evening from 30th September – 4th November, 6pm – 10pm, visitors can experience the lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub-continent set in Robin Hill’s glorious autumnal ancient woodland as they venture on a journey of discovery of India.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary, this unique outdoor event takes on a fresh approach which will immerse visitors in different experiences within each woodland area, transformed by innovative, contrasting themes and lighting effects.

From the bright lights and digital feel of modern India, venture into the wild and enchanting forests, discover elephants, tigers, monkeys … creatively brought to life.   Walk down the highway and find yourself amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life and Indian bazaars … absorb the aromas of Indian cuisine.  Then escape to a spiritual, more serene setting in our Woodland ponds where you can relax and enjoy quiet contemplation before taking part in the celebrations; party to Bollywood music and enjoy colourful kaliedoscopic fun!  Your journey continues through decorative India where you’ll discover beautiful examples of art, murals and light shows and then to draw your cultural journey to a close, we take a nostalgic look back at India’s history creatively curated through light and sound.

 

No electric woods Festival of Light event would be the same without the magic of Holi powder, which will be a highlight for many visitors!  Come and get colourful again this year, with a free bag of coloured powder for first time visitors.

Amidst all this exciting activity, take time to enjoy the enhanced authentic Indian menu of curries and kebabs, Asian sweets, and traditional teas; providing a true ‘taste of India’ in the exciting setting of an Indian bazaar.

During October half term, 21st – 29th October, Robin Hill Country Park will be open during the day from 10am and continue into the evening with Festival of Light inspired by Diwali.    Additional evening entertainment includes Lantern decorating and Rangoli art workshops, Rama & Sita’s Lantern Parade, Dr DJ: the South’s No.1 Bollywood Bhangra Experience, spellbinding aerial silks display, Wings by Twilight, a stunning birds of prey experience and much more!

Please see website for further information: www.electricwoods.co.uk

ENDS.

NOTE TO EDITOR

Please find attached images for your use.

Celebrated across the world, Diwali is the largest, brightest and most popular festival in the Indian calendar. The word Diwali means “row of lighted lamps”, with light symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty and knowledge over ignorance. It’s a time for lighting diyas (or lamps), laying out colourful rangolis (colours), enjoying fireworks, exchanging gifts of sweets and celebrating with dance, music and storytelling.

Diwali starts on Thursday 19th October this year.

For further information, please contact Michelle Russell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Vectis Ventures on 01983 732123 / 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk

Experience the magic ……….Blackgang Illuminations

This October, as the autumnal mists form and the sun sets, a mystical air will envelop Blackgang Chine (on the Isle of Wight) as the magic of Blackgang’s Illuminations return bigger, better and more magical than ever!

On 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th & 20th October – 4th November, as the daylight begins to fade, the park re-awakens with exciting and dynamic interactive lighting effects and displays.  Behold, as the Rumpus Mansion story unveils for the first time; an unmissable 3D animation which uses the Rumpus Mansion building as a canvas to portray the untold story of the dastardly ‘Mr Rumpus and the release of Rumpus past!’.

Plus join your favourite Blackgang characters as they host an evening of magical fun with fairy dance and circus workshops, crafts, potions and fairy tale activities.  Meet our mystical dragon, Cedric, and his mischievous friends Godwin & Finnigan – not forgetting the most magical character of them all, our Fairy Queen!

During half term, Saturday 21st – 29th October, there will be lots of additional activities and entertainment for visitors to enjoy – including Ecuador the Bubble Wizard.  Be amazed as he creates breath-taking bubble sculptures before your very eyes, blow smoke magically into bubbles and put you and your friends inside bubbles too!   Plus don’t’ miss the evening’s grand finale … an amazing NEW fire show!

Blackgang Chine is open 10am – 9pm on 6th & 7th, 13th & 14th & 20th October.   During half term, 21st – 29th October, the park is open 10am – 9pm with additional entertainment.  Blackgang is open evenings only, 5pm – 9pm, from 30th September – 4th November.    The season will finish on 4th November with a Fireworks Extravaganza!

For full programme of events please visit  www.blackgangchine.com

ENDS.

NOTE TO EDITOR

  • Please find attached images for your use.

For further information please contact Michelle Russell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Vectis Ventures Limited : 01983 732123 / 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk

Wightlink reveals the name of its new flagship

Wightlink’s new £30million environmentally friendly car ferry for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route will be named Victoria of Wight.

The name was chosen by a panel of staff who considered 186 suggestions from 73 members of staff.

Work is well underway on the new ship at the Cemre shipyard in Yalova, Turkey and Victoria of Wight will be officially handed over to Wightlink early in 2018. It has not yet been decided when she will enter service.

The new ship is part of a £45million investment in the route. New two-tier boarding ramps are already in use at Portsmouth and Fishbourne and have made loading and unloading of the ferry St Clare faster and more efficient.

Victoria of Wight will be a hybrid vessel, powered by batteries as well as low sulphur marine gas oil. Environmentally friendly features will include the recycling of hot water from the engines to heat the passenger areas and low energy LED lighting. There will be a Costa Coffee store on board as well as a shop selling high quality Isle of Wight produce.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield comments: “Victoria was clearly a popular choice among staff. We were very happy to endorse their selection and feel Queen Victoria, as a regular visitor to the Isle of Wight, would have been amused.”

Five staff members submitted the winning suggestion for the naming. They have all won a trip to the Cemre shipyard to watch the launch of Victoria of Wight later in 2017.

The new ship will be launched at the end of 2017 and arrive in the Solent next summer.

For more information, contact Karen Woods 07775 694266 karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk

 

ISLE OF WIGHT GARLIC FESTIVAL – 19th/20th AUGUST 2017

BBC Bake Off Star Jane Beedle and Valentine Warner are just two of the big names appearing at this year’s Garlic Festival, held at Fighting Cocks Crossroads, Newchurch on 19/20th August.

Jane will be baking in the festival theatre kitchen, and promises some of her TV showstoppers – as well as demonstrating some simple savoury dishes. Valentine will be signing copies of his bestselling book, ‘What to Eat Next’ and will also cook two fish recipes, with the fresh from the boat fish coming from Captain Stan’s at Bembridge.

On stage this year are chart-toppers Marmalade, whose top ten hits include Reflections and Oh Bla Dee oh Bla-Da! The Sunday headliner is The Quo Experience, as part of a nationwide tour, this band are considered THE Quo tribute by the Official Status Quo fan club. They were invited to the Island after festival Chairman David Holmes, a personal friend of the late Rick Parfitt, was called upon to repatriate Rick from Spain last Christmas and carry out his funeral wishes in Woking. Both bands are supported by some excellent local Rock, Pop and Punk bands, and our very own Derek Sandy.

The Garlic show arena will feature The Vander Brothers – for the first time ever on the Isle, with their Quad Wheel – walking outside and inside it, one slip and, it doesn’t bear thinking about. They share the arena with an array of talented animals, including falconry, Wight Wizards dogs. On Saturday we welcome Extreme Bike Battle and Sunday Bob Hogg with his sheepdogs, duck and geese. Also back by popular demand is TITAN, the robot. Once seen, never forgotten, he’ll be performing two shows daily.

We have the wonderful arts and crafts marquees, dozens of food stalls – selling everything from local breads, meats, cheeses, honey and everything else you can imagine. The variety of hot food on offer continues to be the focal point – and of course GARLIC remains the theme, both to eat there or to take home. As ever, thousands of people are expected to attend, locals and summer visitors. Whatever the weather, after 34 years the Garlic Festival remains as popular as ever, it’s fun, food and fund raising and it’s not to be missed!

David Holmes 07813 890221  |  @IOWGarlicFest  | www.garlicfestival.co.uk

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is coming to OSBORNE, ISLE OF WIGHT on Thursday 14 September

What story will you bring?

It’s time to dust off your treasures for a great, free day out as BBC One’s ever-popular Sunday evening programme Antiques Roadshow comes to Osborne, on the Isle of Wight, on Thursday 14 September.

Many of Britain’s leading antiques and fine arts specialists will be on hand to offer free advice and valuations to visitors, who are invited to raid their attics and bring along their family heirlooms, household treasures and car-boot sale bargains for inspection by the experts.

Antiques Roadshow celebrates a special anniversary this year. On May 17 1977, the cameras rolled at Hereford Town Hall, as presenter Bruce Parker and expert Arthur Negus welcomed the first visitors to the very first recording of Antiques Roadshow.

Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce, who marks her tenth year presenting the programme, said: “The best part of working on Antiques Roadshow is that we never know who or what is going to turn up on the day. The visitors, the objects they bring, their stories and the location all viewers. If you are a fan of Antiques Roadshow, curious to see behind the scenes, or just fancy a day out, I would urge you to dig out your treasures and come along – we’d love to see you!”

Antiques Roadshow Executive Editor, Simon Shaw said: “We are looking forward to coming to see us at the magnificent Osborne on Thursday 14 September. It’s the first time we have held a Roadshow at Osborne, and our experts are excited about what finds may come to light on the day.

“Our team of experts and Fiona love nothing better than hearing people’s stories and seeing what items they bring, so we hope as many people as possible come to Osborne and enjoy what our visitors consistently tell us is a fantastic day out. Even after 40 years, the magic formula of surprising some lucky guests with exciting news about their treasures is still a thrill for us, the visitors and the viewers.”

The doors open at 9.30am and close at 4.30pm. Entry to the show is free, everyone is welcome, and no tickets or pre-registration is required. For parking arrangements at the venue, please check our website.

Visitors are welcome to just turn up on the day, but if they have an item with a particularly unusual story attached, or perhaps an interesting collection, or large items of furniture, they can let us know in advance via the Share Your Story link on www.bbc.co.uk/antiquesroadshow Alternatively, email: antiques.roadshow@bbc.co.uk or write to Antiques Roadshow, BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR.

Please note this is an exterior event, so we advise all visitors to dress accordingly. More information on planning your visit can be found at: www.bbc.co.uk/antiquesroadshow

ENDS

Note to editors: Highlights of our 2016 Roadshows included a ‘lost’ masterpiece by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, worth £200,000-£300,000, an 18th century doll’s house of national importance worth £150,000-£200,000, and the moment we reunited the belongings of a World War Two air ace with members of his family.

Follow us on Twitter: @BBC_ARoadshow

Like us on Facebook: BBC Antiques Roadshow

Pamela Parkes

Publicist – Antiques Roadshow

E: pamela.parkes@bbc.co.uk

 

Hearts for tigers fundraising campaign launched

Help The Wildheart Trust provide safe sanctuary on the Isle of Wight for a rescued tiger 

“We can’t change the world for every tiger in need but together we can make the world of difference for this one. Every penny will all add up to provide a much richer life for this animal.” Chris Packham – broadcaster, author and trustee of The Wildheart Trust.

The Wildheart Trust is based at the Isle of Wight Zoo. The zoo has long been known and respected for its provision of lifelong refuge for unwanted, confiscated and mistreated big cats and is committed to the care and conservation of these wonderful animals. During the Isle of Wight Zoo’s 40 year lifetime more than 60 big cats have been given safe haven here. From tigers to lions and jaguars, the dedicated specialised team have worked tirelessly to ensure they have had a safe, loving and enriching place to call home. Currently the zoo’s big cat family totals 8 individuals who have come from a variety of unfortunate backgrounds.

Every year countless big cats end up in temporary rescue centres across Europe, all with a tragic story to tell. Whether they have been abandoned by private owners (who no longer want them after they outgrow the cute and cuddly phase) or have been subjected to cruelty or bad welfare in circuses, they all need a permanent home. Until they find one, other desperate animals must wait their turn to be saved.

In March of this year the zoo sadly lost one of its beloved tigers, Lola, an elderly ex-circus cat. Lola left behind her good friend Simi, also an ex-circus tiger. In many ways Lola’s loss was bittersweet, because as much as she is still missed, there is now space to rescue another tiger. However, in order to facilitate this major re-development of the old outdoor enclosure complex, work must be undertaken to ensure it meets the highest standards for this next era of rescue work. Unfortunately, at this time the zoo does not have the funds in its operating budget to cover the cost of this renovation work and therefore must fundraise.

A dedicated crowdfunder page has been set up to assist the zoo in raising the vital funds and donations are now starting to roll in ,every donation made will take the zoo one step closer to reaching its goal.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/heartsfortigers

Message from CEO and trustee of The Wildheart Trust – Charlotte Corney

“Without the support of our friends we would never have evolved into the specialist centre that we are today. Once we have completed the renovation, the team will be ready and waiting to welcome another tiger into The Wildheart family where he or she will be provided with exemplary day to day care”

How much will the project cost?  

The project will be undertaken in two phases and will cost a total £50,000.

Phase 1 (£38,000) will include:

  • Demolition and removal of old enclosure
  • Replacement of exterior fencing
  • Construction of a new dividing fence
  • Planting and soft landscaping
  • Creation of two ponds
  • Building of resting platforms

Phase 2 (£12,000) will include:

  • Building of two heated rocks with caves

In the unlikely event that the project should come in under budget we will ensure that any surplus funds raised be put into a ‘Tiger Pension Plan’ for the rescued tiger. These funds would help towards the future care of the individual cat. 

The aim is for Phase 1 of the work to be completed by the end of the summer, with sufficient funds raised to enable the zoo to embark on Phase 2 by the autumn of 2017. The sooner the facility is completed, the sooner the zoo can welcome a tiger into its care.

-ENDS-

Media enquiries: Karen-Jane Dudley, Marketing & Events Officer, Isle of Wight Zoo
marketing@isleofwightzoo.com  01983 403883 http://www.isleofwightzoo.comNotes to editors:

The Isle of Wight Zoo aims to promote the survival of endangered species through first class educational and recreational experiences, exemplary animal management, conservation and research. The Zoo is best known for its work with exotic cats. As a centre for surplus or rescued big cats, all have come to the Zoo at different stages of their lives and from a variety of backgrounds. The Isle of Wight Zoo is currently home to 4 tigers, 3 lions and 1 jaguar

Dresses worn by Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria go on display at Osborne ahead of new film ‘Victoria & Abdul’

Costumes worn by Dame Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard and Ali Fazal in the forthcoming feature film ‘Victoria & Abdul’ will go on show for the first time at Osborne, Queen Victoria’s Isle of Wight home on Monday 24 July, 2017.

The English Heritage property where much of the film was shot will present a stunning array of costumes worn by the principal characters: Dame Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, Eddie Izzard as Bertie, Prince of Wales, and Ali Fazal who plays Abdul Karim.

Designed by the Oscar nominated costume designer Consolata Boyle, the costumes pay meticulous attention to historical detail even down to the Queen’s V&A monogrammed shoes.  Formal and informal attire worn by Dame Judi can be seen including the black silk gown with gold front piece the Queen wears while waiting for Abdul’s return to Osborne after a long trip away.  Amongst Ali Fazal’s costumes is the faithfully recreated scarlet and gold livery, complete with peacock blue striped silk turban, which was designed for the Queen’s Indian servants who waited at table in her new Indian inspired dining room.

English Heritage Curator at Osborne, Michael Hunter says: “Osborne was Queen Victoria’s private family home which means visitors can step straight into Queen Victoria’s world when they get here.  Victoria & Abdul is the first film to ever use the interiors of Osborne as a location and these costumes add an extra layer to the rich experience of a visit here. We can’t wait to see it in all its glory on the big screen; in particular the story of how an Indian man servant won the Queen’s respect and trust.”

Costume Designer, Consolata Boyle said: “The thought that my costumes for Victoria & Abdul, through this Exhibition, and our imaginations, will inhabit the same rooms and gardens where Queen Victoria walked and lingered, makes it a particular honour and joy for me.”

The exhibition opening tomorrow (24 July) and set to run until the 30th September 2017 – is located in the Queen’s Indian inspired Durbar Room which itself features in the film, along with the newly renovated Lower Terrace, the Grand Corridor and the Queen’s sitting room.

Osborne is open daily from 10am – 5pm, and the costume exhibition is included in the standard admission ticket.  Further details are at www.english-heritage.org.uk/osborne

Victoria & Abdul is released in cinemas in the UK on 15 September 2017.

-ends-

IMAGES can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8eq6o4uex3jvlqs/AABDx_TBtYbHpk4hYDRDvWXea?dl=0 © English Heritage

For further information or images please contact:  Isobel Cooley PR Manager, South East on 01304 209891 or email Isobel.cooley@english-heritage.org.uk

Notes to editors:

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

www.english-heritage.org.uk

Registered charity no. 1140351

Victoria & Abdul: From Working Title comes the extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Academy Award winner Judi Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favour with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.  Victoria & Abdul is distributed by Universal Pictures International.